Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food is a USDA effort committed to strengthening local and regional food systems that will support small and mid-sized farms and ranches, strengthen rural communities, promote healthy eating, and protect our natural resources. This website provides detailed information about how existing USDA programs can support local food activities in communities, connections to USDA people working to support local and regional foods and forums to share stories, ideas, images and more.
USDA’s Marketing Services Division
USDA’s Marketing Services Division (MSD) aims to improve the efficiency of food and agricultural product distribution and thereby enhance the ability of producers to retain a greater share of the consumer food dollar. MSD administers two competitive grant programs that support agricultural marketing activities: the Farmers Market Promotion Program and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program. The Division also contains a research and technical assistance branch that supports small and medium-sized farm operators, food processors, and food handlers.
How Local Farmers and School Food Service Buyers are Building Alliances
This document, published by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service in May 1, 2000, summarizes the educational highlights of a workshop held for over 180 individuals to help small-scale producers and school food service buyers throughout the country explore how they might be able to establish business relationships in their communities.
Innovative Marketing Opportunities for Small Farmers: Local Schools as Customers
Small-scale farmers in the United States are declining in number and experiencing economic difficulty. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, the West Florida Resource Conservation and Development Council, and the Small Farmer Outreach Training and Technical Assistance Project, Florida A&M University worked together on a pilot project to create marketing opportunities for limited-resource growers. This publication gives an overview of that project and its outcomes.
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
The USDA’s Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) specializes in identifying resources about sustainable food systems and practices in support of USDA's effort to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture and farmers worldwide.
Farm Storage Facility Loan Program
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL) provides low-interest financing for producers to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. The FSA is authorized to implement the program through USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).
Marketing Local Food
From the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, this publication offers a guide to promoting local food sells in your community.
University of Minnesota Extension Office’s Farm to School Videos – Advice for Farmers
The University of Minnesota Extension Program has developed a series of videos featuring several Minnesota schools, farmers and distributors. Each share their own tips for building successful Farm to School connections. Advice for farmers include topics Partnering with Schools–Advice for Farmers, Local Farmers and Distributors Working Together, Finding Local Farmers, and Food Safety.
Grower’s Manual: A Template for Grower Cooperatives
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University revised the Grower’s Manual: A Template for Grower Cooperatives in October 2011 to provide information on food safety, distribution and payment system utilized within a grower cooperative, and serves as an example for other producers looking to form a cooperative.
Cornell Small Farms Program
The Cornell University Small Farm Program website includes a variety of publications and resources dedicated to small farm issues, including grant information, conference updates, research publications, training opportunities and more.
Start2farm is a site developed through a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant. This program helps new farmers plan, finance, find support and make connections.
Produce Safety Alliance (PSA)
PSA is a collaborative group composed of Cornell University, USDA and the FDA. PSA’s goal is to provide training and guidance to small-scale fresh produce growers, packers and distributors. PSA provides fresh fruit and vegetable safety resources, an event calendar, University contacts, and more.
For more information on how farmers or farming organizations can work with schools, visit our Implementing Farm to School webpage.