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2012 People’s Garden Fall Webinar Series: Ingredients for a Healthy Garden

The feedback about last year’s webinar series was overwhelmingly positive! That’s why USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative is bringing it back.

We’re asked all the time for a specific recipe for starting and sustaining a People’s Garden. And each of this year’s webinars focus on ingredients that can be mixed into any garden project to make it healthier: processing and storing seeds, engaging volunteers, growing native plants, composting, and school garden best practices.

The series of five hour-long trainings will broadcast live on Thurs. Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 and Wed. Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. They are free for anyone to watch live online. Register at http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/2012webinars/ to participate. Read more »

A Thanksgiving Treat–Local Foods for Schools in a Minnesota Community

Bonnie Chirstenson from University of Minnesota Extension (far right) shows students in Mrs. Jones’ sixth-grade class in Tracy Elementary how to make pumpkin pudding using a locally grown pumpkin.

Bonnie Chirstenson from University of Minnesota Extension (far right) shows students in Mrs. Jones’ sixth-grade class in Tracy Elementary how to make pumpkin pudding using a locally grown pumpkin.

On a fall morning in Mrs. Jones’ sixth-grade class in Tracy, Minn., students are learning how to make pumpkin pudding.

Instead of using a can opener to pry the lid off cans of pumpkin, a real pumpkin is being used. And not just any real pumpkin, a pumpkin that came straight from a local garden and into the classroom.

The classroom isn’t the only place in Tracy Elementary where local foods are becoming more prevalent. The lunchroom also features more foods grown by local producers and served in school lunches. Read more »

APHIS Helps Fight Pet Overpopulation on Tribal Lands

Years passed, but no one was able to get near the stray dog roaming the 90 acres of the Ely Shoshone Tribal District in Nevada. Tribal members had tried many times to corral her, to no avail.

Then, in 2011, the stray became pregnant, giving birth to a litter under a walkway at the tribe’s clinic. Occasionally, the puppies were heard crying, but a few weeks later their cries grew less noticeable. When employees became concerned, they resorted to tearing up the walkway. Only one of three puppies was still alive, but it soon died after being taken to a veterinarian for care.

Many communities in the United States, including Native American tribes like the Ely Shoshone, face similar problems when dogs and cats are not spayed or neutered. Frequently, when humans are unable to take care of their unsprayed or unneutered animals, they abandon them — bringing problems ranging from cats forming feral colonies to abandoned dogs becoming wild packs. Worse, a significant public health threat looms from potential dog bites and animals carrying diseases that can be transmitted to humans, primarily through ticks. Read more »

Join USDA in Helping those Affected by Hurricane Sandy

U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Division Supervisor Jerry Hoffman meets with New York City Park officials about clearing Forest Park in Queens, NY of hazardous downed trees to make it safe for residents in the area on Nov. 4, 2012.

U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Division Supervisor Jerry Hoffman meets with New York City Park officials about clearing Forest Park in Queens, NY of hazardous downed trees to make it safe for residents in the area on Nov. 4, 2012.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we want to share valuable information about Federal relief efforts and resources to help those impacted in the Northeast. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is coordinating with States and partner organizations to provide disaster nutrition assistance to individuals in 14 states affected by Hurricane Sandy. Read more »