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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 »

Food Venture Center 2 Breaks Ground

By Lori Duff, ARRA Public Affairs Specialist VT/NH

Construction is just beginning on the new Food Venture Center 2, a non-profit kitchen incubator for specialty food producers in Hardwick, Vermont – and Wednesday nearly 50 people, including Sen. Patrick Leahy and USDA Rural Development VT/NH State Director Molly Lambert, showed up to celebrate. Read more »

Help Us Conduct the Annual DC Butterfly Count!

Written by Rick Borchelt

Butterflies are a great barometer of the health of our environment – because they spend part of their lives as caterpillars eating leaves and other vegetation, and part as adults visiting flowers and other food sources, they can be exposed to many contaminants that give us an early warning of problems in the ecosystem.  Butterflies are often used as an early signal that critical habitat is being eroded or lost because many of them are finicky about the kind of habitat they require and have a narrow range of plants they can feed on. Read more »