In Good Taste: Focus on farmers during National Small Business Week

Published 10:00 pm Monday, May 1, 2017

Every year since 1963, the president of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, according to the U.S. Small Business Association.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business and they create about two out of every three jobs in the U.S. each year. Every day, entrepreneurs, small business owners and others from all 50 states and the U.S. territories are working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.

On the more rural level, local farm and food businesses are committed to improving healthy food access for everyone while bolstering the local food economy. With National Small Business Week underway this week, even the giant industrial food industry agency, the USDA, can’t ignore the good work of small food businesses and economies. 

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“There is unbelievable consumer interest in local agriculture that we’ve seen explode in the last decade,” says Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. She is overseeing the agency’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” program, designed to revive the processing, marketing and distribution networks that once made small farming viable but disintegrated in the last 30 years as U.S. agriculture went through a dramatic consolidation.

A stroll through area farmers markets brings to light the efforts to balance the growth and progress of Polk County and the upstate with a rural and sustainable agricultural economy and landscape. Local food initiatives accomplish this through leadership, education and incubating entrepreneurial business. The objective is that these collaborations will provide and sustain healthy food access for all by bolstering and balancing Polk County’s capacity within its thriving local food economy.

Look for businesses whose actions are taking on the mission to provide accessible outlets for local entrepreneurs, farmers, community members and organizations that build an agricultural community one business at a time.