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US Forest Service Study Finds Sparse Marten Detections Linked to Decline in Habitat

A marten in the snow, by Nathan Stone, US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station

A marten in the snow. (Credit Nathan Stone, US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station)

The wily and elusive American marten, which looks like a cross between a mink and a fox, is getting even harder to find according to recent study by the US Forest Service. Read more »

New “Get Involved” Site Helps Us Work Together to Reach More Folks Who Need Help

Looking to help USDA fight hunger and obesity? The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has launched a new webpage just for you! The “Get Involved” webpage is full of tools your organization can use to improve outreach efforts for food help programs like SNAP, Summer Food, CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals, and more. When you visit our site you’ll discover how your organization, or even you as an individual, can dive into FNS outreach.

Visitors to the page are greeted by a section across the top of the page that says, “Start Here - If you are new to FNS, click here to learn how to… serve meals, get funding, end hunger, provide nutrition ed., join webinars, and much more.” This page offers information for organizations that want to get started and have done limited or no outreach with FNS in the past. It connects them with an overview of FNS food help programs, and it gets them to resources they need to start a meal or outreach program from scratch. Read more »

Kick the Tires and Light the Fires

Students, speakers, and honored guests cut the ribbon at Southern Reynolds County R-II School Districts wood chip fired heating plant. USFS photo.

Students, speakers, and honored guests cut the ribbon at Southern Reynolds County R-II School Districts wood chip fired heating plant. USFS photo.

The Missouri “Fuels for Schools” projects, funded by Forest Service Recovery Act dollars, are converting aging heating machinery in six schools with woody biomass systems in and around the Ozarks. Read more »

Perfecting the ‘Perfect’ Food

The USDA-supported Bean Coordinated Agricultural Project (BeanCAP) is working to help bean plant breeders develop new varieties that are better at adapting to changes in climate.

The USDA-supported Bean Coordinated Agricultural Project (BeanCAP) is working to help bean plant breeders develop new varieties that are better at adapting to changes in climate.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

How does one improve upon perfection?  By definition, that’s an impossible task, but a team of scientists is working to help breeders of the “near-perfect” food so they can improve production around the world. Read more »

It Takes a Community to Prepare the Capitol Christmas Tree

When the 65-foot Californian white fir from the Stanislaus National Forest arrives at the Capitol at the start of the holiday season, it will arrive with several thousand of its friends from California.

The Californian friends will be ornaments, as many as 5,000, that will decorate the Capitol Christmas Tree. Each ornament, which will stand 9 to 12 inches tall and be built strongly enough to endure Washington D.C.’s winter, will be handmade by residents of the Golden State. Read more »

New Report: Local Foods are Working for the Nation

Christy (left) and Lilah Talbott of Richmond, VA came to the Fall Line Farms pick-up point at Bon Air United Methodist Church on Thursday, May 5, 2011. This is one of several pick-up points in the Richmond, VA area. This local food hub offers a wide variety of household food staples and specialty items.  The difference from traditional co-ops is that members can pick their customized orders from an ever changing inventory of fruits, vegetables, meats, soaps, eggs, cheeses, flowers, honey, pastas, sauces, syrups, baked goods, mushrooms, flour and grains. Suppliers post what they have on a Lulus Local Food online listing and customers can make their selection Every Thursday suppliers deliver orders to, one of several pick-up points, designated by the customers in or around the Richmond area. USDA Photos by Lance Cheung.

Christy (left) and Lilah Talbott of Richmond, VA came to the Fall Line Farms pick-up point at Bon Air United Methodist Church on Thursday, May 5, 2011. USDA Photos by Lance Cheung.

The market for local food – food that is produced, processed, distributed and sold within a specific region, say a radius of several hundred miles – is growing. Large, small and midsized farms are all tapping into it. Even better, new data suggest that these producers are employing more workers than they would be if they weren’t selling into local and regional markets. Read more »