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Feds Feed Families by Gleaning

USDA employees collected thousands of pounds of food this summer by gleaning as part of the 3rd annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive. Help people in your community access fresh, healthy produce by starting a gleaning program.  Learn more by reading USDA’s Gleaning Toolkit.

USDA employees collected thousands of pounds of food this summer by gleaning as part of the 3rd annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive. Help people in your community access fresh, healthy produce by starting a gleaning program. Learn more by reading USDA’s Gleaning Toolkit.

USDA employees raised about 40 semi-trailers worth of food nationwide during the 3rd annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive! Put another way, 40 semi-trailers is equivalent to an astonishing 1,791,393 pounds of food. This number shattered USDA’s already ambitious goal of raising 500,000 pounds of food this summer. Accomplishing this goal is a testament to the dedication of USDA employees around the country to feed our neighbors. Whether that is through the department’s 15 different nutrition assistance programs that touch the lives of one in four Americans, or from their own generosity, USDA employees are making a big difference during a time of need. Read more »

Massachusetts Dam Stands up to Tropical Storm Irene

NRCS Massachusetts civil engineer Jim Lyons oversees operations at the Nichols Dam.

NRCS Massachusetts civil engineer Jim Lyons oversees operations at the Nichols Dam.

Just before Tropical Storm Irene hit Massachusetts, employees of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), including me, were informed of the storm’s potential impact on a dam rehabilitation project that was underway in Westborough, Mass., a suburban community west of Boston. Read more »

Supporting the Healthy Growth of Our Children During National School Lunch Week

Schools across the country focus on offering healthier options and more variety for their students. The pilot program will bring fresh lettuce, apples, grapes, oranges, carrots, and blueberries to Michigan and Florida schools. (Photo by Tim Lauer, principal of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon.)

Schools across the country focus on offering healthier options and more variety for their students. The pilot program will bring fresh lettuce, apples, grapes, oranges, carrots, and blueberries to Michigan and Florida schools. (Photo by Tim Lauer, principal of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon.)

Fresh and healthy foods are the focus again as we celebrate National School Lunch Week.  The theme of this year’s celebration is “School Lunch – Let’s Grow Healthy,” and schools across the country are touting the many ways they are introducing fresh fruits and vegetables and healthier choices on their menus. Read more »

Volunteer Labor of Love Refurbishes Kelly Butte Lookout in Washington

Volunteers work to install the railing around the catwalk. Photo by Bob Adler.

Volunteers work to install the railing around the catwalk. Photo by Bob Adler.

One hour of hiking through rock towers and outcroppings daubed with wildflowers bring you to a stone staircase leading up to the deck of the Kelly Butte Lookout perched at 5,379 feet. Read more »

From the Lion’s Den to the White House

When President Obama honored 94 researchers on Sept. 26 as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, chances are there was only one former pet-shop-manager-turned-zookeeper-turned-scientist in the bunch: Jonathan Lundgren.

Lundgren works at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory at Brookings, S.D., and he’s also the ARS Early Career Scientist of 2010.  He calls himself a “predator ecologist,” but he’s also known within ARS as “the bug detective.” Read more »

American Jobs Act in the Heart of Rural America

Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and President of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council, Bill Gerhard discuss efforts to strengthen the Iowa economy at the Des Moines Morningstar Bridge.

Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and President of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council, Bill Gerhard discuss efforts to strengthen the Iowa economy at the Des Moines Morningstar Bridge.

This past weekend, I traveled to Iowa to meet with local leaders about the urgent need to pass President Obama’s American Jobs Act. Just as in the other states I visited across the country this past month, the folks in Iowa said loud and clear that they are ready to see the economy flourish again and believe this Act will get us back to work. Read more »