TGA Staff Member Appointed to USDA’s FVIAC Committee
Earlier this month, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the appointment of 25 industry representatives to serve on the USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC). The purpose of this committee is to examine the full spectrum of fruit and vegetable issues in our country and to provide suggestions and ideas to the Secretary of Agriculture on how the USDA can tailor its programs to meet the industry’s needs. We are excited to announce that our Farm Program Director, David Van Eeckhout, has been appointed as one of the 25 fruit and vegetable industry appointees to this committee.
As Farm Program Director at The Good Acre, the largest food hub in Minnesota, David brings with him over 20 years of farming experience as well as expertise in offering one-on-one technical assistance to farmers in the Upper Midwest in the areas of farm production, business, record-keeping, food safety, risk management, land access, and market development.
“I am honored by the appointment and excited to be able to bring the voices of our 100+ farm partners to the table. Local and regional food systems are a critical piece of the future for food security and resiliency, and I am grateful to Secretary Vilsack and the USDA for recognizing their significance,” says David.
Aligned with his focus to create new and expanded markets for farmers, David was instrumental in establishing The Good Acre’s Local Emergency Assistance Farmer Fund (LEAFF), a program specifically for BIPOC farmers that guarantees fair market prices for produce that is then donated to hunger relief organizations in the Twin Cities. LEAFF has become a proven on-ramp to increased wholesale opportunities for farmers of color in Minnesota, especially Hmong farmers who make up more than half of the market farmers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.
David explains, “Our focus on reducing barriers for farmer participation in the local food system is what has made our programming successful. Language and cultural differences can ultimately be a benefit to participation if we prioritize the experience that all farmers bring to the table.” Theresa McCormick, The Good Acre’s Executive Director further explains that “David’s extensive experience as an advocate for emerging farmers in our region makes his appointment to this committee all the more important.”
Fruit and Vegetable Industry Committee members represent organic and non-organic growers, shippers, wholesalers, retailers, industry trade associations, importers, processors, foodservice suppliers, food hubs, state departments of agriculture, and farmers markets; and represent local, regional, and national levels. The reappointed and newly appointed members will serve two-year terms beginning immediately and ending in October 2024. For more information and a list of other appointees, visit bit.ly/usdafviac
About The Good Acre
The Good Acre is a 501c3 nonprofit food hub in Falcon Heights, MN whose mission is to connect and strengthen farmers, food makers, and communities through good food. The organization does this by providing one-on-one grower support services to small, local produce farmers, creating wholesale markets that pay an equitable price to farmers. In 2022, and supporting small food businesses through their shared-use commercial kitchen rental and CPG-focused business workshops. The Good Acre also is home to a vocational culinary training program aimed at building up a workforce of skilled culinary professionals. Click here to see our 2022 Impact Report.
Contact: Nikki Warner, Communication Director, [email protected], 612-787-5969