Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced last week that she will host a Facebook chat Thursday October 1 to discuss the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ initiative to promote local food systems. “I’m excited about the Facebook chat, because it can continue our conversation with the public about ways to better link producers to customers, and increase economic opportunities for producers, while enhancing agricultural sustainability,” said Merrigan. “Americans are more interested in food and agriculture than they have been at any other time since most families left the farm and we are marshaling resources from across all of USDA to help create and strengthen the link between local production and local consumption,” added Merrigan. The public can become a fan of USDA on Facebook and join the ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ chat, which is scheduled for Thursday, October 1 from 3:45 to 4:15 p.m. EST. Those interested in participating can submit a question in advance or can watch the conversation live from the USDA website. To further the national discussion on local food systems, the USDA has also launched a website that will utilize social media tools like Twitter and Facebook and host YouTube content.