USDA announced a new initiative to bolster the supply chain for local food systems around a few key U.S. cities. The project, dubbed 'Food LINC', will connect demand for local food in ten urban areas with supply from farmers and ranchers, strengthening each region's local food business sector and also increasing consumer access to healthy, local food.
"USDA, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority recognized that our investments in local food infrastructure have the most success in communities with strong coordination between producers, food purchasers, and access to shared resources. Food LINC aims to replicate that coordination in ten cities to create market opportunities for the areas' producers, meet demand for locally produced food and create or sustain jobs along that local supply chain. More than 160,000 farmers are tapping into demand for local and regional foods, and industry estimates predict more growth in the next several years. With the help from our partners, USDA can 'supercharge' our resources to create lasting impacts for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities as a whole." —Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture
Food LINC is part of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative supporting the Obama Administration's work to strengthen economic bonds between rural and urban areas, creating sustainable wealth for rural communities and putting more money into the pockets of rural producers.
Locations and partners in Southern SAWG's service area include:
- Atlanta, Georgia/South Carolina Region: Common Market Georgia, host; Schmidt Family Foundation, partner.
- Central Appalachia Region: Appalachian Sustainable Development, host; CoBank, The One Foundation and ARC, partners.
- Jackson, Mississippi Region: Soul City Hospitality, host; Delta Regional Authority, partner.
- Louisville, Eastern Kentucky Region: City of Louisville (Farm to Table) host; RSF Social Finance and State of Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, partners
- Memphis, Arkansas Region (Including NE Arkansas and NW Mississippi): Communities Unlimited, host; DRA, partner.
- Raleigh/Durham, Coastal Plain Region: The Conservation Fund, host; Oak Foundation, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and The Duke Endowment, partners.