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USDA’s Risk Management Agency Associate Administrator Visits a North Carolina Interfaith Food Shuttle Project

As Associate Administrator of USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), one of my duties is to lead all-employee meetings with the Agency’s field offices across the country. During my travel, I often visit local projects and success stories in agriculture that have connections with USDA projects.  Recently, I visited one of RMA’s outreach partners in Raleigh, North Carolina— the Longview School and Inter-faith Food Shuttle.

RMA is funding this unique urban agriculture project through a current partnership agreement with the North Carolina Farm Transition Network.  The project,  in  coordination with Patrick Faulkner, Longview FFA Chapter, and Sun Butler of Inter-faith Food Shuttle, provides hands-on training for students and the community on managing risks associated with gardening and horticulture, improving health, building collaborations, reducing hunger, and potentially,  enhancing career skills related to the local food system and the food value chain.  As a part of this project, Mr. Faulkner has taken students to on two field trips for educational purposes: A national workshop on growing food at Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wis., with Will Allen, and a trip to Washington, D.C., for the National FFA Leadership Conference.

Group picture from the Longview/Interfaith Food Shuttle Outreach Partnership.  Pictured from Left to right is David Wehbe, Wake County School System; Patrick Faulkner, Outreach Partner; Sun Butler, interfaith Food Shuttle (Outreach Partner); Barbara Leach, Associate Administrator; Johnnie Darden, Outreach Partner volunteer; and Larry Atkinson, Raleigh RO Director.

Group picture from the Longview/Interfaith Food Shuttle Outreach Partnership. Pictured from Left to right is David Wehbe, Wake County School System; Patrick Faulkner, Outreach Partner; Sun Butler, interfaith Food Shuttle (Outreach Partner); Barbara Leach, Associate Administrator; Johnnie Darden, Outreach Partner volunteer; and Larry Atkinson, Raleigh RO Director.

Will Allen, a former professional basketball player, is founder and CEO of Growing Power a nonprofit organization devoted to urban agriculture and community food systems.  Mr. Allen helped kick off First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to reduce childhood obesity last year.

In addition, Mr. Allen has visited Raleigh twice to participate in hands-on growing food training at Longview School.  As a result of these training sessions, he has authorized Longview School and Inter-faith Food Shuttle to be a Regional Outreach Training Center (ROTC), responsible for providing locally led Growing Power training sessions, workshops, and/or conferences in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle area.

While the deadline for applying for RMA’s 2011 partnership agreements recently passed, please visit the RMA website for more information about future opportunities.

 

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