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Tomato Plant Diseases and How to Stop Them

Written by Kayla Harless, People’s Garden Intern

Almost everyone who gardens grows tomato plants. We are passionate about our tomatoes and savor that ripe, fresh fruit. However, several diseases love our tomato plants just as much as we do. The People’s Garden Workshop topic this week was tomato blights and spots, and Dr. Martin Draper, a plant pathologist through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, taught us how to identify them and what we can do to treat and prevent them. Read more »

Christie Vilsack Makes Unexpected Visit to Iowa FSA Offices

Written by Beth Grabau, Public Affairs Specialist, Iowa State FSA

The Woodbury and Monona Count Farm Service Agency Service Centers in Iowa welcomed an unexpected guest on Tuesday as Christie Vilsack — wife of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack — stopped by for a visit.

“It was a real privilege to meet with her,” said Woodbury County Executive Director Bryan Stocking. Read more »

Recovery Act Delivers “Fastest-Possible” Internet Access to Squirrel Flat

By Bobby M. Goode, Tennessee State Director

Access to high speed Internet connections grows more important every day. For businesses in Rural America it can be the difference between success and layoffs.

Now a 60-year old telephone co-op and USDA Rural Development (RD) have teamed up to construct the fastest possible broadband network with fiber optic cable all the way to homes and businesses in three very rural counties on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau. Read more »

Farmers Market and Fish Hatchery to Improve Quality of Life for Maine’s Aroostook Band of Micmacs

By Virginia Manuel, Maine Rural Development State Director

Diabetes, obesity, alcoholism and cancer are health problems that all of America faces, but a study showed that incidents of these problems are higher among Native Americans.  The Aroostook Band of Micmacs are taking action to change those statistics. Read more »

Feeding Hungry Children During the Summer

By Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

It is so important to ensure children get enough to eat, especially during summer months when school is out and access to school meals is unavailable.   And that’s why bridging the summer food gap is a high priority at USDA. Read more »

What is “Local” Food?

Anyone who has shopped at a farmers market can appreciate the freshness of the food, the interaction with farmers, and the opportunity to learn how the food was produced. As an economist with the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), I’m also interested in what local food systems look like in the United States and how locally grown food products are delivered from farms to consumers. ERS recently published two studies (Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues, and Comparing the Structure, Size, and Performance of Local and Mainstream Food Supply Chains) that together provide a national perspective on local foods and tell detailed stories about local food supply chains. Read more »