US: Young growers struggling to deal with USDA

On a chilly morning in late February, Kyle Anderberg was selling a small table full of fresh greens at Lakesides Farmers' Market on the northern edge of Richmond just behind his home. He essentially grows greens -- baby mustard greens, kale, parsley, scallions, cilantro, and Jerusalem artichokes, also called sunchokes.

Surprisingly, Anderberg, 36, makes his living full-time as an urban farmer essentially in his backyard. Asked about the farm bill and whether he has looked at any USDA programs that could help a small, urban farmer such as himself, Anderberg said he wasn't aware of any programs that would work for him or where to begin looking.

"When I think about the farm bill, I think about all the corn subsidies that are being pushed into our diet," Anderberg said. "This is a one-man show, so even if there are programs that can help, I rarely go through the trouble of seeking those out."

Anderberg added he'd like to see more funding go into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the state's "Double Up" programs that give recipients $1 back for every dollar they spend on fruits and vegetables. More than half the states nationally have some form of Double Up program.

"That's probably not a whole lot of revenue for me, but it would help more people buy local," he said.


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