Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Edward Avalos joined U.S. Representative Jim McGovern, elected officials and others on a food and farm tour (#MAFarmTour) that included seven stops in the Pioneer Valley.

This is the first of a three-day tour across the Second Congressional District that includes stops at 16 farms and local food organizations. Tomorrow, the Congressman and Under Secretary will visit Worcester–area farms alongside MA Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Maeve Vallely Bartlett and MA Commissioner of Agriculture Greg Watson. The final day will culminate with a focus on urban agriculture.

“More and more, people want to know where there food comes from and Massachusetts has become a national leader in the ‘Buy Local’ movement,” said U.S. Representative Jim McGovern. “Meeting with businesses and organizations that are working hard every day to expand access to local, healthy food helps inform my policy decisions in Washington. I value their input tremendously and am happy that Under Secretary Avalos could join me to hear their stories.”

The tour highlights local and regional food initiatives that support local farms, distribution centers, and cooperative markets. Congressman McGovern and Under Secretary Avalos will meet with producers and distributors to see firsthand the impact of state and federal programs and to discuss strategies to boost local food economies. Nearly all of the farms and organizations visited in the region have benefited directly from federal USDA programs.

“We greatly appreciate Congressman McGovern’s interest and help in working with our important local farmers and helping all of us preserve our working landscapes,” said Jay Healy, State Director for USDA Rural Development.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has identified strengthening local food systems as one of the four pillars of USDA's commitment to rural economic development, along with production agriculture (including expanding export markets and improving research), promoting conservation and outdoor recreation opportunities, and growing the biobased economy. USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative coordinates the Department's policy, resources, and outreach efforts related to local and regional food systems.


Tour Schedule

Tuesday, August 19th

8:30 am 2014 Farm Tour Kick Off EventWith Press Availability

All Things Local

104 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA


9:15 am  Mapleline Farm57 Comins Road,

Hadley, MA


10:30 am Valley Malt27 Middle St, Hadley MA
11:30 am River Valley Co-op330 North King Street, Northampton MA


1:00 pm Szawlowski Potato Farms103 Main Street,

Hatfield, MA


2:30 pm Franklin County CDC Food Processing Center324 Wells Street,

Greenfield, MA


4:30 pm Four Star Farms488 Pine Meadow Road, Northfield, MA



Wednesday, August 20

9:00 am Valley View Farm179 Barre Road, Templeton MA
10:30 am Rota Spring Farm117 Chase Hill, Road Sterling, MA
11:40 am Meadowbrook Orchard209 Chase Hill Road, Sterling, MA


1:40 pm Little bit Farm26 Charles Street, Leicester, MA


3:00 pm Elmhurst Dairy342 West Main Street, Milbury, MA


4:35 pm Five Forks FarmUpton, MA




Thursday, August 21

1:00 pm YouthGrow Urban Farm,63 Oread Street, Worcester
1:50 pm Oread Place EAT Center Site and Orchard5-9 Oread Place, Worcester
2:15 pm Preston Street EAT Center Site,Preston Street, Worcester


Featured image courtesy of Randen Pederson via Flickr under Creative Commons.