Samara Davis shops at the small Harvest Learning Center market in the basement of her Kansas City, Mo., church. It’s part of an effort for local farmers to expand their customer base.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld / Harvest Public Media
Farm stands and farmers markets remain really important for many local farmers, but U.S. consumers barely buy any food directly from farms. That’s why local farmers are trying to crack in to the big institutional markets such as grocery stores, work cafeterias, schools and hospitals.
Local food is slowly becoming a not so niche market. Six years ago, USDA put the size of the local food sector at $4.8 billion.
Credit Matt Hannon / Flickr
When the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases detailed data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture in May, the numbers should illuminate all sorts of details about the country’s farmers. And for those involved in local food initiatives, the data may finally make it possible to update the statistics on the size and scope of their successes.
Ashley Turk is a member of Food Corps, a service program that supports local food systems. In northeast Iowa, Turk and other organizers maintain a robust network that connects growers with clients.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media
As Food Corps service member Ashley Turk navigates her way through a brand-new greenhouse in the courtyard at Waukon High School in the northeast corner of Iowa, she points to a robust supply of red and green lettuce leaves growing neatly in rows.
The mission of the Agriculture Department's Wildlife Service is to mitigate conflict between humans and wildlife. But critics say some of its activities are cruel to animals and that it should be more transparent.
The USDA's inspector general is conducting an audit of the agency. Results are expected later this year.