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Beetles, Aphids and Flies – Oh My!

Written by Kayla Harless, People’s Garden Intern

Throughout July, the People’s Garden Healthy Garden Workshops have been focused on plants and their problematic pests – diseases, fungi, viruses, harmful bugs, and environmental stressors. Today’s workshop covered a range of these, and included lots of local examples from gardens right here on the National Mall. Read more »

Feds, Farmers and Friends Feed Families

By Debra Baczewski, USDA Rural Development, Amherst, Mass.

In support of the Feds Feed Families summer food drive, employees at the USDA Rural Development State Office in Amherst, Massachusetts have been collecting non-perishable food donations in their office. On Tuesday July 27, 105 pounds of non-perishable food items and fresh produce harvested from the Massachusetts State Office’s People’s Garden were delivered to the Amherst Survival Center (ASC.) Read more »

Deputy USDA Under Secretary Announces Grant Awards that Support Local and Regional Food Systems in Oregon

By Vicki Walker, USDA Rural Development Oregon State Director

Victor Vasquez, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, delivered a strong, upbeat message to grant recipients at the Community Services Consortium Youth House Gardens in Corvallis, Oregon on July 12.  The Deputy Under Secretary was in Oregon to highlight the USDA “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, and to emphasize the importance of Rural Development programs in delivering on economic recovery efforts. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Promotes Entrepreneurship in Delaware

Written by Rachael Dubinsky, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Intern

As the sweltering summer sun beat down on the storefront of Ocean Fresh Seafood in Harrington, Del., Kathy and Randy Cagle beamed with pride as they saw the fruits of the labor finally paying off. With their retail seafood market up and running, the Cagle’s were filled with gratitude. Read more »

USDA Programs at a Glance

The Department of Agriculture is a big institution, with a $149 billion budget and 114,000 employees.  When Secretary Vilsack asked me to spearhead the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, my first impulse wasn’t to create new programs and authorities, but rather to figure out how better to use the resources at hand.  Of course, I was aware of certain USDA programs that have, for years, focused on local food, such as the Farmers Market Promotion Program within the Agricultural Marketing Service.  I was also aware that Congress, as part of the 2008 farm bill, took new interest in local foods by, for example, directing that USDA set aside 5% of funding to promote local foods within the Business and Industry Loan Program in the Rural Business and Cooperative Service.  Finally, I knew many existing USDA programs, while not dedicated to local food, could be harnessed to better support local and regional food systems. Read more »

USDA Assists a West Virginia Family With An Affordable Home Loan

By Gail Bennett, Public Affairs Specialist, WV USDA Rural Development On Behalf of State Director Bobby Lewis

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” and this happy young man brings meaning and life to the cliché.

Jamalyn Sexton and her three year old son, Connor, are happy new homeowners.  A celebration was held in their honor during National Homeownership Month in Elkins, West Virginia.  Federal, State and local government officials, stakeholders, lending partners, and family members were present. Read more »