Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass Launches

Last Published: 04/10/2014
Jimmy Nguyen

I went to my local library the other day and checked out Joel Salatin's book, You Can Farm. The author is the same Joel Salatin made famous from the book The Omnivore's Dilemma and the movie Food, Inc. However, back in 1998 when Salatin wrote You Can Farm, the local foods and production movement was still in its infancy in America. For decades, small farms and small businesses in rural America have been disappearing at an alarming rate and in this book Salatin continued his advocacy of supporting the growth of family-owned or locally-focused small farms and small agribusinesses as a way to revive struggling local economies. He envisioned small towns and cities full of agripreneurs and business owners running local lumber mills, certified kitchens, bakeries, fruit and vegetable farms, abattoirs, pastured poultry and cattle operations, breweries, and so on and so forth.

For Salatin, it must have been difficult to go through all of those decades seeing family farms selling their land and small businesses closing up shop. However, it is possible that things could be turning around through the hard work of many people like Salatin and groups like the Greenhorns. Now local food and production advocates have help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA is launching the " Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass" a multi-media narrative and interactive map of USDA's local and regional food projects.

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food logo

On Wednesday, February 29, join Secretary Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Merrigan for an exciting webinar unveiling the new Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) Compass. The KYF Compass includes a multi-media narrative highlighting USDA support for local and regional food projects with successful producer, business and community case studies and information about USDA opportunities for local and regional food systems development, as well as a searchable map illustrating USDA's local and regional food projects in all 50 states.

The Secretaries will also discuss how local and regional food systems across the country offer additional economic opportunities for local farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs while growing the number of farmers, expanding healthy food access and building strong infrastructure systems.

LEARN about USDA resources to develop local and regional food enterprises, from seasonal high tunnels that extend the growing season, to technical assistance for beginning and experienced producers, to support for marketing, processing, distribution and retail infrastructures to creating more venues for healthy food access.

DISCOVER case studies and photos of successful producers and projects from around the country which have successfully received USDA funding to help build vibrant local and regional food systems.

NAVIGATE the interactive KYF Compass Map, which shows thousands of USDA-supported local and regional food projects in all 50 states.

High tunnel at A Flats Mentor Farm full of Asian greens. Tunnel was put in place with help from Natural Resources Conservation Service.

WATCH videos documenting how others are building strong local and regional food businesses, expanding local food production on their farms and ranches, and making change in their communities JOIN the national conversation with others participating in to making local and regional food systems stronger.

WHEN: Wednesday February 29, 2 pm ET WHERE: The webinar will be live-streamed at You can participate live by asking questions on Twitter to @usda and using the hash tag #KYF2. For those not on twitter, questions can be sent to

The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass will be available February 29 at