Farmer with blurred face - where does food come from?From farm to fork—it’s a phrase we’ve become more accustomed to in production agriculture during the past few years. With fewer individuals responsible for raising and growing more food than ever, an increasing percentage of the consumer population is asking where their food comes from. The growing popularity of farmers markets has helped many consumers connect with local farmers, but national campaigns are putting the farmers behind the food on center stage. Campaigns by companies like Lay’s Potato Chips and Dominos Pizza are bringing the farmer into the consumer’s living room in an attempt to connect the two segments.

A similar campaign was recently introduced by Organic Valley, who titled their initiative “Who’s Your Farmer?” Consumers visiting the website are asked to enter their ZIP code, and in return receive a list of farmers in their area. According to the website, my home is 12.6 miles from the closest dairy producer who sells milk to Organic Valley; the website even lists the farm names and locations so consumers can rest assured Organic Valley is bringing a local product to market.

The Organic Valley website is a bit more personal for me, because my family’s dairy in Maine—Castonguay Ayrshires—is one of the featured operations. The article introduces my cousins who run the dairy operation today, shows photos of the farm, discusses their entrance into the organic business and why they chose to continue on the family’s tradition of dairying. It’s just another way companies are closing the gap between the farm and the dinner table.