“I’m wearing this pin because it has a heart in the palm of a hand. You see that heart? I want people who eat my food to know that love went into the preparation of this meal,” said Rosetta Davis, AMS/Civil Rights Program, as she served USDA employees her delicious, homemade collard greens. Ms. Davis was one of 35 employees who volunteered as chefs at Flavors of USDA: Feds Cook to Feed Families. The tasting event welcomed more than 450 employees to plates of homemade food while encouraging donations to the Feds Feed Families campaign. And the food must have been good—the event raised more than 2,500 pounds of donated food.
Guests came from all over USDA as employees flooded into the Whitten Building Patio. People’s Garden volunteers greeted guests at entrances, and Feds Feed Families volunteers collected donations. Guests walked into the patio beautifully decorated with 496 pounds of fresh produce, all donated by the People’s Garden to Feds Feed Families. Chief of Staff Krysta Harden welcomed the crowd, and Toby Osherson, co-director of USDA’s Feds Feed Families campaign, thanked guests for giving. Volunteer chefs served hot foods, salads, and desserts cooked at home and brought to USDA headquarters.
And cook they did! Tables lined the Whitten Patio with delicious foods, including Jerk Chicken, Aloo Biryani, Louisiana Gumbo, and a Fresh Fruit Trifle Dessert, to name a few. The menu did indeed represent the many Flavors of USDA. Chefs brought dishes from their own food heritage, showcasing recipes from Jamaica to Japan, in celebration of the variety of cultures within the USDA family.
The tasting encouraged employees to value their neighbor by donating food to the hungry, and just as important, to value each other here at the department. It’s a vision shared by Secretary Vilsack, who has led the initiative for a Cultural Transformation at USDA. Dr. Alma Hobbs gave remarks encouraging employees to support the Secretary’s vision of a workplace that reflects the demographic makeup of the citizens we serve, ensuring that our respect for each other informs our service to the American people.
That vision speaks deeply to many of us. Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs Ed Avalos shared a personal story from his own food experience and remarked how Flavors of USDA was an example of how we can come together to make USDA a great place to be, to keep it the People’s Department, and to fill the building with the same generosity its employees are sharing beyond its walls.
Which is why Ms. Davis wore her pin.
Feds Cook to Feed Families was sponsored by the Employees Act to Transform (EAT) Committee.