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Open Call to Innovators: Apply to present at G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture

Cross posted from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog:

In an exciting opportunity, the G-8 is inviting innovators to apply to present ideas that demonstrate how open data can be unleashed to increase food security at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data in Agriculture on April 29-30, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Open data is being used by innovators and entrepreneurs around the world to accelerate development, whether it be tracking election transparency in Kenya or providing essential information to rural farmers in Uganda.  The G-8 conference will convene policy makers, thought leaders, food security stakeholders, and data experts to discuss the role of public, agriculturally-relevant data in increasing food security and to build a strategy to spur innovation by making agriculture data more accessible.  As part of the conference, selected applicants will be invited to showcase  innovative uses of open data for food security in either a Lightning Presentation (a 3-5 minute, image-rich presentation on the first day of the conference) or in the Exhibit Hall (an image-rich exhibit on display throughout the two-day conference). Read more »

Regreening Baltimore

Baltimore’s Oliver Neighborhood is a mix of occupied and abandoned rowhouses. The U.S. Forest Service is working with partners to host the Carbon Challenge green building design contest, promoting sustainable and livable neighborhoods in Baltimore and Providence, R.I. (L.F. Chambers, U.S. Forest Service photo)

Baltimore’s Oliver Neighborhood is a mix of occupied and abandoned rowhouses. The U.S. Forest Service is working with partners to host the Carbon Challenge green building design contest, promoting sustainable and livable neighborhoods in Baltimore and Providence, R.I. (L.F. Chambers, U.S. Forest Service photo)

Depending on who you talk to, there are between 16,000 and 20,000 vacant homes in Baltimore. Once a mid-20th century boomtown where residents built the liberty ships and liberator bombers that helped win World War II, the middle-class dreams of this city have been in a decades-long decline. Entire blocks stand empty, lifeless veneers of boarded windows and burnt-out roofs.

But the U.S. Forest Service is working to help change that, promoting livable and workable buildings for 21st-Century occupants, while retaining the vibrant culture and community that once characterized these streets. Read more »

USDA Staff Participates in South Dakota Native Entrepreneurs Fair

Attendees at the South Dakota Tribal Entrepreneurship Fair: left to right Rural Development Specialist Sherrie Lewis, Flo Hare - EDA Director for Yankton Sioux Tribe, and Rural Development Area Director Trace Davids. USDA photo.

Attendees at the South Dakota Tribal Entrepreneurship Fair: left to right Rural Development Specialist Sherrie Lewis, Flo Hare - EDA Director for Yankton Sioux Tribe, and Rural Development Area Director Trace Davids. USDA photo.

Thirty-five participants, consisting of native entrepreneurs and organizations that provide services to entrepreneurs attended the first ever Entrepreneur Fair (E-Fair) held in Pickstown, South Dakota earlier this month.

The E-Fair was co-hosted by the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance (SDIBA) and Yankton Sioux Economic Development Department (YSEDD); providing time and resources into making the day a reality.  The purpose of the fair was to encourage, support, educate, and provide networking opportunities for the native entrepreneurs of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A Magnet for Jobs

This week, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out his plan to make America a magnet for jobs in the generations to come, and further strengthen the middle class.   He stressed that in the wealthiest nation on earth, we must build up ladders of opportunity – to ensure that folks who work hard and play by the rules have a chance to get ahead.

The values the President spoke of in his address are shared by many across rural America. Our farmers, ranchers, rural businesses and families are committed to the value of hard work.  They agree that we owe today’s young people the opportunity to get ahead. They know that we must continue working to alleviate rural poverty to build up the middle class across our nation.

The President’s first priority is to make America a magnet for jobs – and when it comes to job creation, there’s no place like rural America. Read more »

Freezers Full of Summer

Straight from the freezer to students’ lunch trays, schools are finding ways to serve local berries all year long.  Photo credit: Deborah Kane

Straight from the freezer to students’ lunch trays, schools are finding ways to serve local berries all year long. Photo credit: Deborah Kane

It’s February and, as tends to happen every year, I’m starting to run low on frozen berries. It seems the hours upon hours I spent this summer freezing the season’s bounty weren’t enough to satisfy my family’s endless demand for berry smoothies. Every year I vow to put more berries away for use in the winter. I suspect this summer will be no exception; I’ll take the pledge again. Read more »