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Feds and Farmers Feed Families in Pennsylvania

Schuylkill County USDA employees and partners in the field for Feds Feed Families.

Schuylkill County USDA employees and partners in the field for Feds Feed Families.

During this year’s Feds Feed Families food drive, the Schuylkill County USDA Service Center in Pennsylvania beat its last year’s total of 11,084 pounds of donated food with a new total of 19,092 pounds.

Feds Feed Families is a nationwide federal employee effort to re-stock the shelves of food banks and pantries over the summer months when need is high but supplies are generally lower. Read more »

Women in Agriculture Teach Others about Value-added Goat Milk Products

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.

Farmers across the nation are searching for ways to increase farm income.  In Alabama, small and limited-resource dairy goat farmers are boosting the bottom line by adopting “value-added” production techniques to their products.

With the help of researchers and Extension educators from Alabama A&M University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides funding to support this work through an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant for Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities.  And this program is now seeking applications for FY 2013 funding. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Helps Celebrate Dedication of NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

In an historic Cedar Rapids, Iowa, neighborhood devastated by floods in 2008, Secretary Tom Vilsack joined local leaders Saturday, October 27 for the dedication of a year-round local foods market.  He called it a testament to neighbors and visionary leaders who saw a need for locally-produced foods, opportunities for entrepreneurs and a chance to rebuild local pride after the floods.

The NewBo City Market is located in Cedar Rapids’ New Bohemia district, home to generations of Czech and Slovak immigrants. Not far away is the Czech Village and the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library.

Up and down the Cedar Rapids neighborhood brick buildings from the late 19th century are being restored.  A new coffee shop and bookstore are housed across from the market in the national register-listed Czech-Slovak Protective Society (CSPS) building.  A mile to the north, a new library and a convention center complex will open next year. Four years removed from the floods, there is no doubt about it, Cedar Rapids is back. Read more »

Food Safety Is Crucial For East Coast Residents As Hurricane Sandy Approaches

Hurricane Sandy could bring wind, flooding, heavy rain and possibly snow to the East Coast, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service urges people to take steps now to ensure they have access to safe food. Power outages and flooding that often result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, and planning ahead can minimize the risk of foodborne illness.

The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage. FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” also has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Strengthening America’s National Forests

As harvest season continues, so does the historic drought that has impacted so many producers and communities. Today, USDA and other Federal agencies continue doing all we can to help farmers and ranchers. Unfortunately, due to inaction by Congress, many programs authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill expired on October 1, and other aspects of the law will continue to expire in the coming months.

While we continue to urge Congress to take up a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible, USDA continues our work to further economic opportunity in rural America.

This includes our efforts to protect, restore and properly manage America’s National Forests. Read more »

Growing Food for the Common Good at an Idaho People’s Garden

This Idaho People’s Garden donated over 5,000 pounds of food this summer to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Boise.

This Idaho People’s Garden donated over 5,000 pounds of food this summer to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Boise.

Located on about a half an acre of land in Boise, Idaho is a USDA People’s Garden. This land wasn’t always so fruitful. In fact, it was barren for almost 30 years due to a lack of water available on the property. In 2010, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) Idaho State Office teamed up with Amity United Methodist Church of Boise to create a People’s Garden. The land is now a flourishing garden that produces many fruits and vegetables year round thanks in part to a new water distribution system. Read more »