The distance between American consumers and farmers is shrinking, as evidenced by the National Restaurant Association annual chefs survey, released in December, which found that locally sourced meats and seafood and locally grown produce are the top two industry trends for 2011.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan will discuss the consumer trend toward eating locally and its potential economic, health and community benefits at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, in the UC Davis Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center during a presentation titled “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.” The event is free and open to the public.
Working alongside U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Merrigan oversees the day-to-day operation of the USDA’s many programs and spearheads the department’s $149 billion budget process. She also manages the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food effort to strengthen local and regional food systems by helping consumers connect with those who produce their food.
Her talk will follow the announcement of the recipient of the Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award, a $1,000 prize given by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis. The award recognizes an individual who has exhibited the leadership, work ethic and integrity epitomized by the late UC Davis livestock geneticist Eric Bradford and the late Yolo County sustainable farmer Charlie Rominger.
The Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis, established in 2007, focuses on research, education and communication to identify solutions to big and emerging issues in food and agriculture — from farm to fork. More information about the institute is available at: http://asi.ucdavis.edu/.