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School Garden Concept Plan Revealed to Students at Powell Elementary School

Cross posted from the Let’s Move blog:

Last month USDA facilitated a school garden design session and since that time, landscape architects Matt Arnn and Bob Snieckus have been working hard to incorporate parent, teacher and student ideas into an ideal plan that would transform the large expanse of asphalt at Powell Elementary School in Washington, DC into a People’s Garden.

Older students envisioned racecars, tree houses, spaceships and swimming pools at their school while younger students imagined rainbows and butterflies. Parents and teachers drew images of colorful flowers, fruits and vegetables, and quiet spaces for reflection and relaxation. Many of the garden designs incorporated an area for basketball and street hockey as well as covered areas to gather for meals and cultural celebrations. Read more »

Food Safety Professionals Teach 8th Graders about Preventing Foodborne Illness

I’ve worked for the Food Safety and Inspection Service for 21 years, and for the past six years, I’ve had the opportunity to help reduce foodborne illness in a unique way outside of my usual job description—by talking to local 8th grade science students about how to “Fight Bac!” My husband, Kirkland, also works for FSIS. I am a Case Specialist, meaning I deal with consumer complaints and product recalls within FSIS’ Springdale, Ark., district, while Kirkland is a Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI). When my niece was studying bacteria in her 8th grade science class, she mentioned to her teacher that several members of her family work every day to prevent harmful bacteria in our food supply. Intrigued, the teacher called and asked if I would discuss with the class my job and how foodborne pathogens can make people sick. Read more »

Conservation Programs Help Bring Farming Back to Suburbia

When Dina Brewster’s grandparents bought their place in Ridgefield, Connecticut, in 1936, the town was dominated by small farms. Many of those farms eventually disappeared to development, or were leased or abandoned. But now some are being revitalized—sometimes, as in Brewster’s case, by the grandchildren of the original owners.

Brewster is the first family member to farm the homestead since her grandmother ran it as a sheep farm. After her grandparents stopped farming, the land lay fallow for years and then was leased to another farmer. Brewster took over the farm in 2006 and set about converting it to a certified organic operation. Read more »