your-news image

WATSONVILLE, CA -- In support of the Oct. 24 Food Day event, which is being organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, U.S. fruit and vegetable farmers are encouraging the media to give them a call, according to an Oct. 14 press release.

Because most people don't get out to visit farms, the Alliance for Food & Farming is encouraging reporters who cover food, health and environmental issues to "meet a real farmer who grows real food for real people," and then introduce these farmers to readers, viewers and listeners.

"Who better to inform people about how their food is grown than the farmers themselves," said Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the Alliance for Food & Farming. "For many Americans, how their food is grown can be a mystery, and it shouldn't be. This is why we're asking for the media's help in providing people with better information about farming and who is growing their food."

According to the Alliance for Food & Farming, a non-profit organization comprised of both conventional and organic fruit and vegetable farmers, the produce industry is very much in favor of Food Day's ultimate goal, which is to get Americans to "eat real." The hope is to improve the American diet by encouraging consumption of healthy, affordable fruits and vegetables produced in a sustainable way.

By all accounts, one of the best ways to accomplish this goal is for consumers to get to know the people who grow their food. This is not exclusive to local farmers or those who sell at community farmers markets, but also the farmers who produce healthy food options that are accessible through grocery stores and restaurants.

In the case of the Meet a Real Farmer initiative, farmers will speak out for themselves so they can let people know the real story about how fruits and vegetables are grown.

For example:

  • Fruit and vegetable farmers tend to be small to mid-sized operations rather than large corporations.
  • They are often family-run businesses that have been operating for generations.
  • Fruit and vegetable farmers are not commonly recipients of government subsidies.
  • They are all local farmers in their own communities and contribute to the local economies where they do business.
  • Virtually all fruit and vegetable farmers practice sustainable farming and incorporate methods such as crop rotation and Integrated Pest Management.
  • Many grow both conventional and organic produce.
  • Fruits and vegetables also are some of the most highly regulated foods in the world regarding food safety.

Most importantly, health experts around the world agree that people should be eating more fruits and vegetables for good health.

The Alliance for Food & Farming's web site (www.foodandfarming.info) can also be a great resource for information about recent and ongoing food-safety issues involving produce.

"While there have been some recent food-safety issues concerning produce, these are not the norm," said Ms. Dolan, who noted that fruit and vegetable farmers are committed to producing safe food. "Farmers and their families eat the foods they grow; they often live in the orchards and fields where they farm, and their livelihoods depend on producing a safe product. "

Ms. Dolan noted that her organization is happy to work with the media to arrange meetings with fruit or vegetable farmers. The Alliance for Food & Farming also encourages the media to seek out sources by looking in produce departments at local stores for the names and addresses of produce suppliers.