(February 11, 2010)—Kathleen Merrigan, the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture describes consumer demand for locally grown agricultural products as a "quiet food revolution." And the revolution is growing, especially through direct marketing, such as the at least 5,200 farmers' markets nation wide, an increase of 13 percent from 2008 to 2009.
"Direct marketing has grown 100 percent from $550 million in 2000 to $1.2 billion in 2007, " Merrigan says.
Merrigan is leading a new USDA program called "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food," which, she says, is designed to support local and regional food systems by reconnecting consumers with locally grown food.
KYF2, as she referrs to the initiative, has a three-pronged attack: Build on existing USDA programs; introduce new strategies; and "invite Americans to join a national conversation."
www.USDA.gov/KnowYourFarmer is full of resources for locating your local growers and producers and encourages communication between them and their community.