This September we announced the 2010 awards for our Specialty Crop Block Grants (SCBG), a program geared toward increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables by offering grants to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which administers the program, funds projects across a broad spectrum of activity, such as research related to increasing crop yields, state marketing campaigns like “Minnesota Grown,” and improving supply chain management for emerging local and regional food systems. These grants can propel burgeoning projects to the next level and help drive local economies and assist farmers. In many cases producers have benefited by diversifying their farms to include specialty crops, such as blueberries and pistachios, to meet consumer demand. Read more »
The “Family Hike” masterpiece by Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman will be presented to the USDA Forest Service this Friday, October 22, at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. The Forest Service is acquiring the original painting to support the growth of the Robert Bateman Get to Know Program in the United States. Read more »
Top U.S. Department of Agriculture officials came to Novato in September to learn about the district’s success in partnering with various community organizations to bring fresh, local and organic fruits and vegetables to school meals while supporting local farmers. Project Lunch is the culmination of several innovative developments sought by Food & Nutritional Services Director Miguel Villarreal since coming to Novato in 2002. “We’re putting nutrition and wellness in the forefront,” Villarreal stated to the crowd gathered in Novato High School’s cafeteria for the kick-off event on September 9. Whole Foods, Marin Organics, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Teens Turning Green and the Marin Department of Public Health are just a few of the partners that participated in the event. Novato High, the event site sponsor, is leading the movement by launching the district’s first Food Club. Food Clubs are made up of students, food service staff, farmers, chefs, and other school community partners working together to improve school lunches through hands-on learning. The Club will take field trips to farms, farmers markets, and green grocers and will prepare meals and host chef demos. Read more »
On Monday, Secretary Tom Vilsack and Congressman John Spratt visited several PeeDee area farms in South Carolina, and spoke with local leaders and farmers about the importance of developing a strong rural economy. USDA State Directors, Vernita F. Dore, State Director for Rural Development, Ann English, State Conservationist for NRCS and Laurie Lawson, State Executive Director for FSA, also joined the tour of local farms. Read more »
Several years ago, commissioners in Lake County in Northeastern Minnesota began researching the possibility of bringing fully network connected broadband services to the region. Read more »