Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump arrived at approximately 3:15 and toured several of the stands around the open-air market for around 20-35 minutes, stopping to take photos with several vendors including stopping at Lee’s Produce of Johnston County.
Today’s event is part of the Farmers to Families Food Box distribution program. Both Perdue and Trump participated in an event with the President in the western part of the state two weeks ago.
Approximately 6-8 produce trucks surround the far side of the market, where the stage is set up for remarks from the Secretary and Ms. Trump.
This is Secretary Perdue’s 3rd event of the day in the state. Earlier he participated in a broadband connectivity announcement and joined Farm Bureau members for a roundtable discussion.
Earlier today, Ms. Trump tweeted a picture indicating she was flying to the state.
Remarks began at 3:54 with a welcome from state agriculture commissioner Steve Troxler.
“The State Farmer’s Market is a dynamic hub and valuable resource for fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and flowers.”
RE: The Farmers to Families Food Box program: “We’ve seen first hand how successful this program has been to the farmers and families in the state.”
Troxler introduces Perdue, who he said needs little introduction given his work in the state.
Perdue: “This Farmer’s Market is a jewel”
Perdue also tells the story about getting a call from President Trump after seeing milk, crops dumped on TV.
“The win-win-win relationship is the people who were hurting were connected to the food they needed from farmers. This is America helping Americans”
Also today, Perdue says SNAP recipients can shop at farmers’ markets, other distribution points. Pilot project with online ordering as well.
Perdue introduces Ivanka – “It’s been a joy for me to work with her on this program and seeing her enthusiasm.”
Ivanka shouts out the tomatoes from Lee’s Produce in her opening. The crowd includes around 30-40 seated and spaced apart.
“There were people struggling at every end of the spectrum from farmers to distributors to families who had never been to a food bank before. A program of this scale to be mobilized so quickly is incredible.”
“The ability to bring our country’s produce to those in need is so important.”
Ivanka mentions the faith community as part of the distribution network and says 90 million boxes have now been delivered.
Ivanka says over 3,000 local markets have SNAP card capability.
“Hopefully I’ll be back many times in the weeks and years ahead.”
Ivanka wraps up at 4:11 and brings Congressman David Rouzer to the stage briefly.
Rouzer says President Trump has faced more roadblocks than any President in history and says he always finds a way to get things done.
“I call him the can-do President and it’s a real honor to work with this administration.”
Ronnie Lee of Lee’s Produce speaks as well. He has been at State Farmer’s Market since 1990 and farms 250 acres.
“I’m not used to speeches, I’m used to being on a tractor.” Says he had restaurants stop coming to pick vegetables and the Farmers to Families Food Box program has been invaluable to his business.
The event ends at 4:24 with Troxler thanking those in attendance. Troxler, Perdue, Trump, and Rouzer step over to pack a couple of boxes for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina’s truck.