Recently I joined a Dutch internet Sustainable Food group. Today the convenor of this group informed the members about a new initiative of the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture): “Know your farmer, know your food”. The aim of this USDA initiative is to help more Americans understand where their food comes from and how they can support local food economies in their communities. The initiative was announced by USDA secretary Tom Vilsack in a YouTube video:
“An American people that is more engaged with their food supply will create new income opportunities for American agriculture. Reconnecting consumers and institutions with local producers will stimulate economies in rural communities, improve access to healthy, nutritious food for our families, and decrease the amount of resources to transport our food.”
While the White House kitchen garden and Obama’s idea to have a weekly farmers’ market at the White House (see my blog posted on 4 September) could have been perceived as ‘window dressing’, this USDA initiative surely gives the impression that the Obama administration is seriously attempting to fundamentally change US agrofood and rural development policy. Will, in this case, Obama’s campaign slogan – “Yes, we can” – become true?