SAN ANTONIO, TX
Our Food Link, a new year-round program that county and state Farm Bureaus can use to reach consumers of all ages and backgrounds with information about today's agriculture, was launched during the American Farm Bureau Federation's 95th Annual Convention.
"Consumer outreach is more important than ever because the average American is now at least three generations removed from the farm," said Terry Gilbert, a Kentucky farmer and chair of the American Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee. Farm and ranch families make up less than two percent of the U.S. population today.
The roll-out of the program included the distribution of a planning toolkit to help Farm Bureau members start thinking about projects that will engage people in their communities.
Suggested Our Food Link activities range from outreach at supermarkets or farmers' markets to hosting interactive booths at community events, speaking with lawmakers and neighbors about food and visiting classrooms to help students understand agricultural topics.
Other program ideas include: an Adopt-a-Farmer program, fun runs, garden projects and "Zest 'n Zing" or other foodie events. Our Food Link activities may also include the collection of food and monetary donations for Ronald McDonald House Charities or other charities.
"With the launch of this flexible new program, we hope to enhance and energize the efforts of Farm Bureau members as they help people connect with sources of clothing, food, shelter and energy in their communities," Gilbert said.
The launch of Our Food Link was spearheaded by the AFB Women's Leadership Committee, with participation open to all Farm Bureau members.
Grants for county and state Farm Bureaus to initiate Our Food Link projects are available on a competitive basis. Up to seven $700 grants will be awarded for project proposals that reflect strong connections between the food system and agriculture, while creatively engaging consumers in a way that encourages them to learn more about food and agricultural products.
For more information about the application process, contact Elaine Bristol firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-406-3629.