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USDA Forest Service Recreation Program Contributes to Local Economies, Promotes Healthy Lifestyles

The USDA Forest Service has released an updated report today that documents how national forests provide economic, health and recreational benefits.

The National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) Report states that recreation activities on national forests and grasslands have helped to sustain an estimated 223,000 jobs in rural areas and have contributed approximately $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Read more »

Apps for Healthy Kids: All Hands on Deck to End Childhood Obesity

Cross-Posted from the Let’s Move Blog

By Aneesh Chopra, United States Chief Technology Officer

Thank you for your participation! By the time the Apps for Healthy Kids competition submission period closed last week, we had 160 submissions in hand and nearly 20,000 supporters. Now we are reviewing all submissions for eligibility and will have them all up on the website and ready to view by July 14. Our intention through this endeavor was to inspire software developers, game designers, and students from across the United States to develop fun and engaging tools to inspire and empower children to eat better and be more physically active. We are very excited to have received your many creative submissions, and equally excited to transition now to the voting phase of the competition. Read more »

Science and the Food Supply

By Roger Beachy, Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Yesterday’s Science Tuesday post about growing tomatoes that last longer on the shelf in the store or on the kitchen counter has generated much really useful discussion about the role of science in growing our food supply.  Science in the U.S. is a social enterprise, and the decisions about what technologies are appropriate and acceptable are societal, not purely scientific decisions, so this conversation is critically important to us all. Read more »

Response to Wildfires – How the Forest Service Operates

By Phil Sammon, USDA Forest Service Public Affairs

As part of the federal response to wildland fires, The USDA Forest Service Fire and Aviation management team follows stringent guidelines to provide the most capable, experienced, well-trained and equipped men and women in both initial attack and sustained fire fighting operations anywhere in the US and overseas. Our leaders at all levels, our crews, our equipment, and our interagency support and cooperation are unequalled anywhere in the world. This level of proficiency, logistics support, and decision-making processes, didn’t happen overnight and it does not maintain itself in a haphazard manner. Read more »

Local Woodwork Spices Up Athens, Ohio Self-help Housing Project

Submitted by Mark Gideon, USDA Rural Development Single Family Housing Specialist

USDA Rural Development State Director Tony Logan, more than 40 volunteers from local community organizations, and USDA Rural Development staff came together last month for a self-help housing volunteer work day to benefit three Southeastern Ohio families. The families will soon be moving into new homes they help build under the supervision of Three Rivers Housing Corporation of Athens, Ohio.  The project, located in The Plains, Ohio, was financed through the USDA Rural Development’s Self-Help Housing Program in a partnership with the Ohio Housing Finance Authority. Read more »

USDA Rural Development/Habitat For Humanity Team Up to Help People Realize the American Dream In Washington State

Story by Gayle Hoskison, Olympia Area Director, Washington State USDA Rural Development

Becoming a homeowner for the first time is a big deal, especially for Brittany Meyer, who received the keys to her new home last month during a special ceremony, and up until that one moment in time, never believed she would share the American Dream of homeownership. Read more »