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USDA Officials to Attend 2010 White House Tribal Nations Conference

Today marks a historic event. Alaska Native and Native American leaders are scheduled to meet with President Obama at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, held at the headquarters of the Department of Interior in Washington.  Among those scheduled to attend from USDA are Secretary Tom Vilsack, Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager and Janie Hipp, senior advisor to the Secretary for tribal relations. Read more »

First High School in Nation Receives Gold of Distinction HUSSC Award

Sixth Grade cheerleaders from Sumrall Middle School perform a “healthy eating” cheer during a HealthierUS School Challenge awards ceremony where their school received a Gold level award from USDA FNCS Deputy Under Secretary Dr. Janey Thornton.

Sixth Grade cheerleaders from Sumrall Middle School perform a “healthy eating” cheer during a HealthierUS School Challenge awards ceremony where their school received a Gold level award from USDA FNCS Deputy Under Secretary Dr. Janey Thornton.

I was privileged to go to the State of Mississippi on Dec. 9, for a HealthierUS School Challenge event.  Actually, I was there for three events and 11 schools received either USDA’s Gold of Distinction Awards or Gold Awards.  One of the six schools that was recognized for the Gold of Distinction Award was Purvis High School in Purvis, Miss.  This school is actually the first high school in the country to win this award and counting the other five Gold of Distinction award winners; these six schools are the first in Mississippi to be recognized for this particular award. Read more »

On the Eve of a White House Conference, Tribal Leaders Meet at USDA

Earlier today, I joined Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and other top USDA officials here at the Agriculture Department for the Second USDA Tribal Leaders Listening Session.  The leaders are in Washington for tomorrow’s White House Conference, called by President Obama because he is very serious about the need for the federal government to honor and respect our trust responsibilities to Native communities.

During an invocation at the start of today’s event, Dr. Ted Mala, physician and director of tribal relations at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage said that the USDA “takes care of our weakest people, rural people, who cannot be here today…give them strength.” Read more »

A USDA Funded Water Treatment Plant Expansion Sets the Stage for Roland, Oklahoma’s Future

Only Oklahoma can turn a rural water backwash lagoon into a postcard! These lagoons will be cleaned and used with the new water treatment plant.

Only Oklahoma can turn a rural water backwash lagoon into a postcard! These lagoons will be cleaned and used with the new water treatment plant.

The Town of Roland, Oklahoma is located just 5 miles from the Arkansas border in extreme east central Oklahoma. Roland has the tools we need for growth, but economic development cannot happen without planning and a vision for the future. The new water treatment plant expansion will set the stage for Roland’s future. Read more »

Elmo Visits the White House Kitchen

Cross-posted from the White House Blog:

On Monday, President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act into law.  This legislation is an important step forward toward ensuring that no child goes to school hungry and that all children have access to healthy, nutritious foods at school.

Earlier this week, Elmo visited Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass in the White House kitchen to talk about the importance of healthy and delicious school meals. Check out the video below. Read more »

Local Food Hub Brings It All Together

A core component of any food hub is making sure that products can get from the farm to the table, a complex task involving perishable goods, cold storage, varying scales of supply and demand, and, of course, the occasional flat tire.

A number of food hubs have taken this challenge on utilizing diverse approaches, including a particularly impressive non-profit organization in Charlottesville, Virginia: Local Food Hub.  Directed by the entrepreneurial Kate Collier and Marisa Vrooman, it is addressing three major issues in the local food system: distribution, supply and access. Read more »