Know your farmer…know your food!

The USDA has a Know Your Farmer initiative

“Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) is a USDA-wide effort to carry out President Obama’s commitment to strengthening local and regional food systems.

We know that demand for local and regional foods is strong, as consumers across the country are looking to connect with their food and the people who grow and raise it:

The number of farmers markets has more than tripled in the past 15 years and there are now more than 6,100 around the country;
In 1986 there were two community supported agriculture operations, today there are over 4,000;
There are farm to school programs in 48 states, totaling more than 2,200 and up from two in 1996;
All 50 states in the U.S. have agricultural branding programs, such as “Jersey Fresh” or “Simply Kansas;”
As Governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack started one of the first food policy councils. Today there are over 100 food policy councils;
And the National Restaurant Association surveyed “locally sourced meats and seafood” and “locally grown produce” as the top two trends for 2011.

Local and regional markets often provide farmers with a higher share of the food dollar, and money spent at a local business often continues to circulate within community, creating an multiplier effect and providing greater economic benefits to the area.

Something everyone can easily do is to make sure everyone who is eligible for CALFRESH
is receiving food assistance benefits. California has one of the lowest rates for
use of food benefits. Some of it has to do with restrictive measures on the state level but much of it is simply not knowing about the program or for a variety of reasons being unable to complete the application.

Sonoma County is working to provide satellite centers where people can apply and not have to drive to Santa Rosa and through groups like S.A.V.O.R.(Sonoma Alliance Veggie Outreach Revolution)helping people get better use of their benefits.

CALFRESH is a benefit for local farmers and farmers markets. The second Saturday of every month is SAVOR Saturday at the Santa Rosa Market.