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Minnesota Latino Community Leaders and Promoters in Sync on Nutrition

The key to reaching out to underserved, eligible Latino communities in need of nutrition assistance is to find trusted leaders from within the community itself. The Minnesota-based organization Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES) has effectively adopted an outreach model that achieves grassroots impact through a holistic promotores (community health workers) model. CLUES is a La Mesa Completa partner whose mission is to provide a network of support for Hispanic individuals facing crisis. To help Latinos in need, they have developed a unique family-centric coordinated care delivery model based on the idea that the family and the home are valuable support assets.

CLUES elects trusted community leaders to be promotores and trains them on how to deliver information about nutrition education and healthy eating, obesity and diabetes prevention, and the importance of physical activity through one-on-one home visits. These Latino promotores have become the bridge between the people and federal, state and local resources and institutions they refer them to, which is why establishing a relationship of trust is crucial. Read more »

With USDA Support, A Health Center in Alaska’s Susitna Valley Celebrates a Grand Opening

On a beautiful, bright Sunday in August, members of the Alaska  USDA-Rural Development team met with the leadership of the new Sunshine Community Health Center and other funders to celebrate the grand opening of the new healthcare facility in Willow.  They were joined by members of the surrounding communities which this new clinic will serve, including Willow, Houston and Skwentna, Alaska.

The old healthcare building of some 1,400 square feet had grown outdated in both accommodations for staff and residents needing medical services.  The work space to provide private exams and perform much needed medical procedures was too small and no longer met the required protocols.

“The new building is a 6,800 square foot facility that houses six new exam rooms, allowing the clinic to expand and supply necessary healthcare expertise and services to the residents of the surrounding service area.  It will provide many new jobs ranging from entry-level support personnel to professional and bring higher levels of medical services,” said Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Supporting American Jobs by Increasing Exports

As drought continues across America, President Obama and I continue doing all we can to help producers. In addition to the actions the Administration has already taken, we will continue to work with Members of Congress toward passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill – because USDA needs tools to help, and producers need certainty in this difficult time.

While we know that the ongoing drought will impact yields, we also know that thanks to technology and the innovation of producers, many producers may still see a good year – we won’t know until harvest time. Meanwhile, USDA continues doing all we can to support a strong rural economy and a thriving agriculture sector.

A big part of this work is ensuring strong markets for quality American agricultural products. President Obama and I know that supporting strong markets for U.S. agricultural exports is crucial to continuing economic growth in rural America. Read more »

Council for Native American Farming and Ranching Begins Work

Natural Resources/Range Manager of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Blackfoot, ID., Mark Wadsworth, speaking, was voted as the President of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Council for Native American Farming and Ranching (CNAFR) held at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. CNAFR was created to advise the Secretary on ways to eliminate barriers to participation for Native American Farmers and Ranchers in USDA programs. The Council was established as part of the Keepseagle settlement, and is conducted under the oversight of USDA's Office of Tribal Relations under the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Natural Resources/Range Manager of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Blackfoot, ID., Mark Wadsworth, speaking, was voted Chairman of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Council for Native American Farming and Ranching (CNAFR) held at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. CNAFR was created to advise the Secretary on ways to eliminate barriers to participation for Native American Farmers and Ranchers in USDA programs. The Council was established as part of the Keepseagle settlement, and is conducted under the oversight of USDA's Office of Tribal Relations under the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

An intensive two day public meeting wrapped up earlier this week in Washington, D.C., as the recently appointed members of the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching met face-to-face for the first time. Read more »

Bikes, Bananas and Conservation–Earth Team Volunteers Contribute to Annual Iowa NRCS Partnership

RAGBRAI riders traveling down the road toward the tent site. More than 9,500 people ride RAGBRAI each year.

RAGBRAI riders traveling down the road toward the tent site. More than 9,500 people ride RAGBRAI each year.

Each July, more than 9,500 people pedal across the state of Iowa, covering a total distance of more than 400 miles in just seven days. The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) attracts cyclists from across the globe.

Cyclists travel from one Iowa town to the next, enjoying the Midwest hospitality. Iowa residents living along the route can watch the swarms of bicyclists ride by for hours straight. Read more »

In Pennsylvania, Farmers Markets Offer Opportunity to Producers and Communities

Pennsylvania is among the country’s top ten states represented in the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory.  I recently completed a trip through the Fruit Belt to the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia to see how USDA’s support of farmers market development is impacting communities and helping farmers across the Keystone State.

My first stop was Camp Hill, a small town outside Harrisburg, to visit a new farmers market developed with the assistance of community organizations including   Capital Resource and Conservation & Development Area Council (Capital RC&D).  Capital RC&D received a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant to help farmers markets improve their consumer outreach and receive EBT and debit payments to expand micro-business opportunities for the area’s local farmers.  The market, which just opened in May, is off to a great start with over a dozen vendors selling local bread, meat,  dairy and produce from Pennsylvania’s fruit belt. Read more »