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DC Students Acting Out(side) in Search of Urban Forests

Students from the Paul Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., take to the streets pretending to use binoculars in search of their urban forest with a member of the Missoula (Montana) Chlidren's Theatre. The Missoula Children's Theatre works with the U.S. Forest Service to develop interactive, engaging performing arts school assemblies and workshops.

Students from the Paul Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., take to the streets pretending to use binoculars in search of their urban forest with a member of the Missoula (Montana) Chlidren's Theatre. The Missoula Children's Theatre works with the U.S. Forest Service to develop interactive, engaging performing arts school assemblies and workshops.

Students from Paul Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., found out the fastest way to find a forest within their urban community: walk outside. Read more »

Earth Team Volunteer Brings Home the FFA National Proficiency Award in Vegetable Production

Mallory McDevitt of Wapakoneta, Ohio in her one-acre organic garden.

Mallory McDevitt of Wapakoneta, Ohio in her one-acre organic garden.

Mallory McDevitt of Wapakoneta, Ohio, is a real go-getter. This 18-year-old high school senior has been an Earth Team Volunteer with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) since she was 14. She also serves as the Wapakoneta FFA Chapter Vice President. Read more »

A Unique Urban Garden in the Heart of Atlanta

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Wheat Street Gardens, a unique urban garden, located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Ga., not far from the famous civil rights historical Ebenezer and Wheat Street churches.  The garden was once a housing project that was demolished and many of the former residences’ families still come to the garden telling stories of where their parents used to live and reliving the memories as they purchase fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the garden.  The old housing project land, owned by the Wheat Street Church, was donated for the garden.

Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture (TLW), which is a 501(C)(3) Non-Profit, runs the garden, which produces organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs, grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. The garden is also a farmers market selling as a direct farmer to the community and welcomes customers who spend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Read more »

Regional Planning – Key to Rural Economic Strength

Both of us grew up in small towns, Kathleen in Greenfield, MA and Bob in Ancram, NY.  From our own experiences, we understand the challenges and the importance of a strong rural economy.

We recently visited Brevard, a town of about 6,000 people in North Carolina’s Transylvania County.  While there we held a White House Rural Council meeting at the Transylvania County Library with leadership from the Land-of-Sky Regional Council, the regional economic development commission AdvantageWest, business leaders from Asheville and Brevard, and several local elected officials.  We released a report from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities, at Brevard College, which focuses on how the federal government can help rural areas to be economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable. Read more »

From School Garden to Lunch Tray: Veggies Star in West Salem, Wisconsin

West Salem kindergarteners enjoy tacos, refried beans, Garden Bar, and grapes.

West Salem kindergarteners enjoy tacos, refried beans, Garden Bar, and grapes. (Photo courtesy of Sara Jeranek)

When it comes to local foods, it doesn’t get much fresher than vegetables direct from a school garden. In West Salem, Wisconsin, students are not only growing their own vegetables; they’re eating them – with enthusiasm — in their school lunches. Even more, they’re having fun planting, digging, and harvesting, while learning sustainable growing practices. Read more »

US Forest Service Research Geographer Gets to the Heart of Why People Forage

Marla Emery works in the agency’s Research and Development’s People and Their Environments unit in Burlington, Vt.

Marla Emery works in the agency’s Research and Development’s People and Their Environments unit in Burlington, Vt.

Marla Emery looks at plantain – an ordinary weed to most people – with an eye on how some people will use it. After all, her work with the U.S. Forest Service as a research geographer leads her to interesting conversations with people who forage in rural and urban forests. Read more »