There are many initiatives coming out of the White House recently that have healthy, local and sustainable food activists excited. There’s the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign, dedicated to fighting child obesity, and there’s the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) initiative, which Kathleen Merrigan, the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture (aka the second-in-command in the USDA) came to Hawaii to promote last week.
The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food campaign is about redeveloping strong regional food systems through existing funds set aside in the 2008 Farm Bill and other USDA programs. The point is economic development and greater access to healthy food. By connecting consumers with their local food producers, money stays within the local economy. Merrigan cites a study, “Economic impacts of increasing Hawaii’s food self-sufficiency,” published by Ping Sun Leung and Matthew Loke, summarizing that if Hawaii could replace 10% of our imported foods, it would amount to some $313 million in the local economy.