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On Independence Day, Acknowledging Those Who Serve

That's an "almost home" smile! Photo of Maj. Matt McCoppin, USDA employee, taken at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Photo courtesy: Matt Branson. Photos used with permission.

That's an "almost home" smile! Photo of Maj. Matt McCoppin, USDA employee, taken at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Photo courtesy: Matt Branson. Photos used with permission.

Editors note:

As we mark the Independence Day holiday, it’s an important time to remember the honorable service of our nation’s active duty and reserve service members, and our veterans. More than 10,000 veterans are on our team at USDA – and still more are currently serving in National Guard and Reserve units around the country. The Ohio Rural Development office recently shared stories of two employees currently serving.

For many USDA employees, “moonlighting” means late nights on the tractor or in the barn. It’s hard work that offers great personal reward.  Likewise, two Ohio Rural Development team members recently undertook a special kind of second job: one that, a little like farming, entails great discipline and family sacrifice. Read more »

Oregon Dunes Teach Elementary Students about Conservation

Most people wouldn’t associate sand dunes with a forest, but on the central Oregon Coast, the Siuslaw National Forest is home for the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area – 40 miles of wind-sculpted, shifting sands towering up to 500 feet above sea level.

Formed by the ancient forces of wind, water and time, these dunes are like no others in the world. This is the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America and they provide numerous recreational opportunities with thick “tree islands,” open dunes, marsh-like deflation plains and beaches. Read more »

Summer Meals in California Promote Health and Education

To enjoy nutritious fresh fruit smoothies - Summer Food kickoff participants power a blender using a stationary bicycle.

To enjoy nutritious fresh fruit smoothies - Summer Food kickoff participants power a blender using a stationary bicycle.

On the grounds of Valley Hi-North Laguna Library in Sacramento, California, upwards of 150 children participated in the California Summer Meals kickoff event hosted by the California Summer Meal Coalition, Sacramento Public Library, and the Elk Grove Unified School District.  USDA’s Summer Food Service Program offers free meals during summer break so kids are better fueled with healthy food to learn and grow all year long.

Though the weather approached 100 degrees, the children were not deterred from learning about the importance of healthy meals during the summer months at this event. Read more »