This week, the US Department of Agriculture announced that it will allow farmers to grow their own vegetables.
And while there’s a lot of debate about the best way to grow vegetables, one thing is certain: it’s going to be easier than ever before.
“We want to make it easier to grow and we want to reduce environmental impact, and we’re excited to make that happen with this USDA-approved crop that’s now available in a number of markets,” said Dr. Kevin Sauer, chief executive officer of the National Farm Center.
“It’s just really a game changer.”
Farmers can now apply to be the first farmers in the country to be allowed to grow tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and sweet potatoes.
They’ll have to pay $10,000 per year to get approved, but that doesn’t take into account the cost of growing those crops themselves.
Sauer said the program will make it possible for small farmers to be able to grow as many of these crops as they want.
“This is an opportunity to expand access and to get more out of the land,” he said.
But for now, the USDA says farmers will only be able do the things they have to do to produce a crop, such as watering, pruning and cutting down trees.
“We’re looking at what we think will be the most efficient way to achieve that goal,” Sauer said.
The program was announced as part of a wider USDA initiative to help small farmers grow their crops, including a new website to help farmers find farmers markets.
But it’s not the only thing the USDA is making available to farmers.
Settlers can now harvest their own veggies in the same way they harvest apples, and that’s a big win for farmers.
“You’re getting a big bang for your buck,” Siegel said.
“This is a huge win for small-scale farmers, it’s a huge game changers,” said Jennifer Bostick, the director of the Small Farm Institute, an advocacy group that supports small- and medium-scale farming.
“The USDA is finally saying, ‘OK, let’s get started.'”