Our first full day of the Public Markets Conference was a success! An opening session, plenary, breakout sessions on a variety of topics and a delightful opening reception brought people together from around the world in their support of public markets and sustainability.
A highlight of the morning’s opening remarks was a live video address by USDA-second-in-command Kathleen Merrigan, the leader in creating stiffer regulations for the labeling of organic foods. A champion for farmers and preservation of farmland in the United States, Merrigan is highly respected in her field.
Addressing us on just day eight of her new position, Merrigan spoke from Washington, DC, lauding the works of conference attendees. She spoke of the partnership with PPS on creating a comprehensive resource guide about public markets and EBT benefits, and the importance of creating and assuring access to healthy, fresh food. Additionally, she relayed the support of markets work on behalf of President Obama and Dept of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
She closed noting the joy and celebration that occur at farmers markets, saying she was off to visit the First Lady’s new White House garden. (That, of course, drew a round of applause!)