Sometimes the public can benefit from the voluminous reports gathered for governmental measures hastily enforced to placate public opinion and strident Congress members.
The recently-released digital interactive report from the 2009 Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF, KY2) initiative is one such tool that provides information on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s support of local and regional food projects.
Under President Obama’s Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 which sought to provide programs and funding to strengthen local and regional food systems, the USDA supports program that:
- Stimulate food- and agriculturally-based community economic development;
- Foster new opportunities for farmers and ranchers;
- Promote locally and regionally produced and processed foods;
- Cultivate healthy eating habits and educated, empowered consumers;
- Expand access to affordable fresh and local food; and
- Demonstrate the connection between food, agriculture, community and the environment.
In February of this year, the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass tool was released to the general public on the USDA’s website featuring information gathered from the two years of working with local and regional food producers.
Through interactive maps, data sets, photos, video content, a regional food hub guide, and business and community case studies, Congress, consumers and food producers can learn about USDA supported programs for local and regional food projects.
The report provides information on successes, advancements and ongoing problems. One highly touted case study was from northeastern Iowa where local food sales increased more than 1,000 percent in just four years.
Right now the initiative is in the first of a three-phase process in which a portion of information from an initial list of 27 programs is released as examples. Phase two will be updating the existing information and adding new programs and resources and phase three hasn’t been released yet.
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The USDA hopes to develop practical food production solutions for consumers, food producers, and the government through the distribution of information and collaboration with different industry groups.
Check out the video below to get full details on the benefits of the KYF, KY2 tool!