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USDA Official Tours Missouri School Garden Project

Students at  Barack Obama Elementary School, near St. Louis, learn about healthy food choices through gardening.

Students at Barack Obama Elementary School, near St. Louis, learn about healthy food choices through gardening.

Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development Judith Canales recently had the opportunity to visit Missouri’s new Barack Obama Elementary School located in a suburb of St. Louis.  The school district has started the Barack Obama Elementary Healthy Food Pilot Project where the objective is to serve a healthier school breakfast and lunch menu.  As part of this pilot project, the Farm to School Program is being incorporated to bring in more locally grown produce.  The elementary school has also created a school garden in partnership with community members, community-based organizations, and a local community gardening group.  It appears that they are on the right track!

The next day Ms. Canales stopped in Columbia, Missouri, to participate in a roundtable discussion on Women in Agriculture/Rural Business.  The attendees represented varied women owned/operated agricultural business and representatives from different State and Federal Agencies that support these businesses.  By each of them sharing their challenges, ideas and available resources, they can hopefully utilize these avenues to make their operations a success.

Acting Deputy Under Secretary Judith Canales (sixth from right) participates in a ribbon cutting ceremony for flex-fuel pumps in Waynesville, Missouri, funded in part through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program.

Acting Deputy Under Secretary Judith Canales (sixth from right) participates in a ribbon cutting ceremony for flex-fuel pumps in Waynesville, Missouri, funded in part through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program.

The last stop on her trip was to the Express Stop Conoco in Waynesville, Missouri, for their grand opening and ribbon cutting.  USDA Rural Development provided Rural Energy for America (REAP) funds to the station owners, to finance six new flex-fuel pumps and related equipment.  This renewable energy equipment allows consumers more fueling options and is a step toward our nation being less dependent on fossil fuels.

Overall, Ms. Canales considered her trip to Missouri a great success!

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