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USDA Addresses Greater Outreach to Asian American Pacific Islander Communities

Last week, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and the Office of Human Resources and Management hosted the USDA-Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Roundtable in Washington, D.C.

The USDA-AAPI Roundtable brought together over 70 participants, including over 35 AAPI community organizations and leaders, 6 Congressional offices, 5 AAPI business leaders and chambers of commerce, 3 media outlets, various academicians and 25 USDA officials. Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Judy Chu opened the event applauding USDA’s efforts to establish partnerships between Congress and USDA to better increase AAPI outreach. USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan made introductory remarks discussing the need for diversity at USDA and the developments at USDA to address greater outreach to AAPI communities.  USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack provided keynote remarks highlighting USDA’s plan to increase diversity efforts to better reflect the face of America through the implementation of the USDA Cultural Transformation Initiative. Read more »

Who Will Get the First Bath?

Recently, I had the pleasure to travel to the rural Alaskan communities of Kwigillingok, Kasigluk, and Pitkas Point.  The visit was made along with Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Administrator Jonathan Adelstein, Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund, and a few of our major program partners.  As with other trips, the site visits to these communities were a reminder of why the Rural Alaska Village grant program and other Rural Development programs are so vital to rural communities.

The water and wastewater conditions in these three villages and other Alaskan communities are staggering. Drinking water is hauled from local watering points, which clearly do not meet safe drinking water standards.  Wastewater is hauled by utilizing honey buckets.  The same path that kids play and walk to and from school, is the same route that individuals routinely walk with their five gallon buckets  of wastewater to honey bucket transfer stations. Read more »

Celebrating Latino Contributions to Agriculture – Past, Present, and Future

A photo of Representative de la Garza from the Library of Congress.  During his tenure as Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Representative Eligio "Kika" de la Garza not only supported trade and promoted rural economic development, but he also led the way for the House to pass Federal reforms on pesticide laws, an overhaul of the agricultural lending system, crop insurance reform, and a major reorganization of the USDA.  De la Garza also passed three farm bills and measures that improved human nutrition.

A photo of Representative de la Garza from the Library of Congress. During his tenure as Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Representative Eligio "Kika" de la Garza not only supported trade and promoted rural economic development, but he also led the way for the House to pass Federal reforms on pesticide laws, an overhaul of the agricultural lending system, crop insurance reform, and a major reorganization of the USDA. De la Garza also passed three farm bills and measures that improved human nutrition.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) would like to recognize the contributions that Latinos make to the agriculture industry. The agency celebrates individuals like former U.S. Representative Eligio “Kika” de la Garza II, for the impact they had on the USDA and the agricultural landscape. Read more »

U.S. Embassy Paris People’s Garden Unites French and American Gourmets

Chef Lionel Levy putting the final touch on his mini hamburgers with Pistou (cold sauce made from cloves of garlic, fresh basil from the garden, and olive oil) and Tapenade (puréed olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil)

Chef Lionel Levy putting the final touch on his mini hamburgers with Pistou (cold sauce made from cloves of garlic, fresh basil from the garden, and olive oil) and Tapenade (puréed olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil)

Several top French chefs gathered on September 19 at the People’s Garden located at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to France.  In a friendly atmosphere, the chefs prepared dishes using fruits and vegetables from the garden, as well as U.S. cranberries and seafood (crab, salmon) from Alaska.  The event guests featured writers from France’s food, lifestyle and gardening media, in addition to buyers from local restaurants, hotels and catering companies.  Guests had an opportunity to taste traditional U.S. products and recipes reinterpreted by starred French chefs. Read more »

Healthy School Meals Fuel S.W.A.G. and Success

In August I went back to school with students in Albany and Newton, Ga., to see how healthy school meals help students get their “S.W.A.G. on” and prepare for success.

In Albany, 400 Sherwood Acres Elementary Magnet School students celebrated school breakfast, many wearing S.W.A.G. t-shirts, which stands for “Students with Academic Greatness!”

Vanessa Hayes, Dougherty County Schools Director of Child Nutrition Services, explained, “We understand that good nutrition is the fuel for the educational vehicle.” Read more »

It Takes a Village: Reaching Out to Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina

I am a communications intern with USDA Rural Development in North Carolina and recently had the opportunity to visit the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina at Lake Waccamaw (BGHNC).

I knew we would be visiting a residential facility that cared for at- risk children, but I had no idea what to expect. When we arrived, the site of the lake was awe-inspiring. I thought to myself, perfect scenery for healing. We were whole-heartedly greeted in the Administration building, Flemington Hall, by Mr. David Passmore, Vice President of Residential Services, and Kathy Stream, Director of Public Relations/Marketing. Read more »