Agriculture deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan will host her second Facebook chat about the 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 3 p.m. The topic of this chat will be farm to school, which involves getting and using fresh produce and other farm products from local and regional farmers for use in local schools. The effort not only supports increasing economic opportunities for local farmers but also helps school children make healthy food choices.

The 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative emphasizes the need for a fundamental and critical reconnection between producers and consumers. The effort builds on the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides for increases and flexibility for USDA programs in an effort to promote local foods.

Merrigan hosted her first Facebook chat on the initiative on Oct. 1. Questions were submitted from people across the nation about beginning farmer and rancher programs, interest in school nutrition, food safety and supporting local and regional food systems. During the 30 minute session, more than 115 questions and comments were submitted.

Details are available at www.usda.gov/live and people can submit a question in advance of the chat or watch the conversation on the USDA website.

The website, at www.usda.gov/knowyourfarmer, features social media tools to help focus the public conversation about farming and food, while engaging American agriculture and linking producers to customers. The public will be able to send their stories, ideas or videos to the 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' team at knowyourfarmer@usda.gov . The public can become a fan of USDA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/USDA.

Source: USDA