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Merrigan highlights USDA program at Chicago conference

Friday, March 12, 2010

A USDA program is trying to connect farmers and communities, which could lead to better food options in urban areas.
A USDA program is trying to connect farmers and communities, which could lead to better food options in urban areas.

At a recent conference in Chicago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's deputy secretary focused on how the Land of Lincoln can use a federal program to connect those who use farm equipment with the rest of the state.

Kathleen Merrigan spoke during the Financing Farm to Fork Conference, which was held at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. During her time there, Merrigan spoke about the USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program, which aims to connect farmers with the people in their regions.

"Part of our Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative is to link the agricultural community to urban markets to bring new understanding of the importance of healthy eating and provide enhanced access to fresh foods," Merrigan said, adding that demand for locally grown food could increase to $7 billion in two years.

Certain parts of urban areas are infamous for their lack of proper grocery stores, forcing many residents to rely on less-healthy alternatives. Furthermore, the country as a whole is facing a problem with obesity, which could especially affect children.
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