Every time I go to a conference, I’m reminded again of the paradox apparently built into the form. Conferences practically guarantee an engaged audience: attendees are self-selecting; they want to be there. They are, more often than not, experts, of some stripe or another. Yet the schedule, usually jam-packed with panels and speakers, rarely allows for much more than a quick gloss of any given subject.

Such was the case with today’s closing plenary, at which keynote speaker Kathleen Merrigan acknowledged that she was preaching to the choir. And I agree: does a group of farmers, food policy experts, and advocates really need to see a video about the joys of shopping at the farmers’ market? Do we need to know that gardening is hot?

Still, you can always rely on the government for some statistics, and here Merrigan didn’t disappoint. Some may be new to you; others are just good to be reminded of. Can you find the common thread?