As of late, there has been a lot of talk about the importance of taking steps toward a healthier future for America, particularly from the folks in charge in Washington D.C. The Obama Administration and family have made some changes in hopes to inspire others to do the same. First Lady Michelle Obama has started an organic garden on the White House Properties to provide fresh, healthy, and by all means locally grown food, to ensure nutrient-rich meals for her daughters and to set an example for other Americans. On a larger scale, the USDA has come up with the “Know your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, putting plans into play for a healthy and positive change in the American diet. Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced yesterday that local organizations in 14 states will be provided with $4.8 million to build sustainable local and regional food systems to help fight obesity and hunger nationwide.
In order to strengthen agriculture, food production, and the lives of Americans, there are specific goals the USDA intends to reach. These community food projects will connect consumers with local food producers, in hopes that people will begin to understand the connections between agriculture, food and health, and to reduce the amount of resources used for food transportation. The plan will reach the food needs of individuals and families in low income communities, making nutritious foods more accessible and increasing food self-reliance. By focusing on comprehensive responses to local food, farms and nutrition needs, people will benefit from healthful food consumption, and small and medium sized family farms will prosper. “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” is intended to spur economic opportunity in rural communities and meet the food needs of those most distressed.
The USDA has high hopes of turning food research into knowledge, and in turn increasing the opportunity for healthier choices. Included in the newly announced plan, schools will be issued information for guidance in purchasing fresh produce from local producers. Providing children with the nutrition they need, while increasing business for local farmers will help families and the rural and regional communities they live in. If “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food,” can provide families with the knowledge and opportunities to live healthier lives and to make productive decisions for the community, then the initiative will have served its purpose. We’ll have to stay tuned to see how it all pans out.