White House volunteers have set up hoop houses — a temporary greenhouse at the White House — where staff members will grow cold-weather greens for the White House table that include spinach, lettuce, carrots, mustard greens, chard and cabbage. A cover crop of rye was also planted which will help protect and enrich the soil during the winter.
The USDA has pledged to aid farmers who want to build their own hoop houses which are simple to build and transport and made of ribs of plastic and metal pipe covered with a layer of plastic sheeting. The hoop houses will help to provide steady incomes to farmers by letting them grow produce year-round. Additionally, USDA’s Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan is promoting a new agency program called “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food,” which helps support smaller farmers on a local and regional level.
According to the USDA website, the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program is a “USDA-wide effort to create new economic opportunities by better connecting consumers with local producers. It is also the start of a national conversation about the importance of understanding where your food comes from and how it gets to your plate. Today, there is too much distance between the average American and their farmer and we are marshalling resources from across USDA to help create the link between local production and local consumption.”