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People’s Gardens Give Back Over One Million Pounds

Chuck Hanagan has worked for USDA-Farm Service Agency for 25 years and operates a family farm in Swink, Colorado. Having an abundance of fresh vegetables has given his office the opportunity to participate in gleaning efforts for the Department’s ‘Share Your Harvest’ campaign. 4,000 lbs was donated by Hanagan Farms. The pumpkins pictured are in bins awaiting shipment.  Many of them ended up with the families of deployed troops on the Army base at Fort Carson.

Chuck Hanagan has worked for USDA-Farm Service Agency for 25 years and operates a family farm in Swink, Colorado. Having an abundance of fresh vegetables has given his office the opportunity to participate in gleaning efforts for the Department’s ‘Share Your Harvest’ campaign. 4,000 lbs was donated by Hanagan Farms. The pumpkins pictured are in bins awaiting shipment. Many of them ended up with the families of deployed troops on the Army base at Fort Carson.

As the harvest season comes to a close, the People’s Garden has a lot to be thankful for this year. Last week, the Initiative’s ‘Share Your Harvest’ effort passed the one million pound mark of fresh produce donated to local food banks and charities across the country. Read more »

Meet Face of Food Safety Nisha Antoine: Lieutenant, Biologist, Volunteer, and Mother

Lt. Nisha Antoine, in her U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps uniform, works at her desk in one of the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s headquarters offices.

Lt. Nisha Antoine, in her U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps uniform, works at her desk in one of the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s headquarters offices.

Nisha Antoine has always understood the relationship between personal health and public health. As a child with asthma, she spent a lot of time in the emergency room, and she was inspired by her doctors and nurses to want to take care of other children as an adult. From elementary school through college, Nisha enjoyed studying biology, a path she knew would eventually lead to a career of caring for others. Read more »

Food for Progress Project in Bangladesh Helps Develop Prawn Farming

Market linkage has been established for selling the prawn produced in the area, which has resolved the marketing problem initially faced by the farmers. Photo credit to Winrock International.

Market linkage has been established for selling the prawn produced in the area, which has resolved the marketing problem initially faced by the farmers. (Photo credit to Winrock International)

A recent Food for Progress (FFP) project in Bangladesh shows how a small effort can have a big impact on a community. The Rural Enterprise for Alleviating Poverty project is managed by Winrock International with the help of USDA and the Ministry of Fisheries in Bangladesh. The goal of this project was to help local farmers boost their incomes by adding prawns and vegetables into their existing farming efforts. Read more »

Georgia On My Mind

Cross-posted from the White House blog

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan

Last fall, the President asked that senior Obama administration officials travel the country to hold a series of roundtables on behalf of the White House Rural Council.  On November 2nd, I joined a roundtable with local farmers, ranchers, and area business leaders at the Athens Technical College in Athens, Ga. If you aren’t familiar with Athens, Ga. the locals are glad to inform you that it is a hotbed of rock n roll and the launching grounds for acts such as the B52s, R.E.M., and Widespread Panic.

Forest Service Waives Fees in Honoring Veterans

Hiker on Santa Lucia Trail Ventana Wilderness, in California.  U.S. Forest Service Photo by Lynn Olson.

Hiker on Santa Lucia Trail Ventana Wilderness, in California. U.S. Forest Service Photo by Lynn Olson.

The U. S. Forest Service will waive fees honoring those brave men and women who have protected our country and nation’s lands during the long Veterans Day weekend November 11-13 at some recreation sites.  This is the third time this year that fees have been waived to encourage visitors to come to a national forest. Read more »

Location, Location, Location: Identifying Crucial Business Factors for Farmers Markets

A sample of the DOT survey taken at the USDA Farmers Market in 2010.  Here, shoppers were able to indicate what products they purchased at the market.

A sample of the DOT survey taken at the USDA Farmers Market in 2010. Here, shoppers were able to indicate what products they purchased at the market.

In business, location means everything. Not only do businesses need to understand where their customer base exists, but they also need to know where their competitors are.  The same applies to farmers markets: they must understand their customers and competition to determine the potential for profit. The location of a farmers market can influence a vendor or customer’s decision to support a particular market. Read more »