A bridge across farm/nonfarm divide

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INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels inaugurated the first nationwide Grow America Project Summit, “Modern Agriculture and The Public Trust,” to discuss the organization’s goals of educating the public on the importance of modern agriculture.
The October summit brought together food, agriculture and environmental experts, as well as academics and consumer groups to discuss issues in rebuilding trust in modern agriculture.
Making connections. The primary purpose of the Grow America Project is to bring the entire food system together and reconnect it with the consumer, organizers say.
“The health and prosperity of agriculture has a lot to do with the health and prosperity of our nation,” said EPA’s Johnson. “By working together we can find solutions that are good for the environment, agriculture and the American people.”
Big gap. Due to technical advances in agriculture and the declining number of people who are involved in agriculture and food production, there is a growing divide between consumers and those who produce their food.
“There ought to be no gap at all,” said Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. “The interests of producers and consumers are exactly aligned, in my judgment.
“More productive, more environmentally sensitive and more quality-of-life-compatible agriculture, which is where technology is taking us, is exactly what Hoosiers and other consumers of food desire. A lack of information, and sometimes disinformation, is what creates a gap in the first place,” Daniels said.
Common ground. Jeff Stratton, corporate executive vice president and worldwide chief restaurant officer of McDonald’s Corporation, also spoke at the summit.
“We share a common interest in demonstrating to consumers the strength, safety, health benefit and quality of American agriculture.”

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