Kathleen Merrigan, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s deputy secretary, spoke Thursday in Garrett Hall about why community members should buy more foods locally and support area farmers. The presentation was an offshoot of the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative the USDA is pursuing to promote these goals nationwide. The program, launched in 2009, aims to stimulate each community’s economic growth in addition to cultivating healthy eating habits and provides grants to startup farmers and existing farmers. “This is a program to connect consumers to farmers, and for them to get a better sense of where their food is coming from, and how it is produced,” said Galen Fountain, a Senate Appropriations Committee staffer. Merrigan’s visit to Grounds was part of two-day tour of Virginia. “If everyone spent just 10 dollars on local and regional food it would create two billion dollars [in revenue] for the state government,” she said.