Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. This month, we hear from Jamie Clover Adams, Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the first woman to serve in that position. Director Adams recently participated in a 10 day women-led USDA trade mission to China with Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor. Read more »
Cross-posted from the Disability.gov blog:
Your neighborhood grocer may be conveniently located just a few short blocks away. But for many persons with disabilities and the elderly participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the store might as well be on the other side of the world.
It’s a difficult problem that USDA’s new homebound food delivery pilot aims to alleviate, not just for the more than 4 million nonelderly adults with disabilities participating in SNAP, but also for the nearly 5 million seniors, who often face similar challenges and who may face disabilities, as well. Read more »
During my travels to 46 states over the past two years, I’ve explored Illinois cornfields, watched an oyster harvest in Connecticut, and admired beet fields in North Dakota. I’ve toured a rooftop farm on a Brooklyn high-rise, and marveled at fresh vegetables grown in truck containers in the remote Alaskan Arctic.
These are the places where it all begins, so that Americans have safe and affordable food, from the farm to the plate.
So when local author and chef Jonathan Bardzik invited me to the USDA cafeteria for a lunch-hour cooking demonstration, I grabbed my apron and joined him as his “Sous Chef for the Day.” Read more »
With sales of over $11 billion in 2014 and projected growth of 10 percent annually, local and regionally-produced food is the fastest growing sector of American agriculture. At USDA, we hear a lot from communities interested in strengthening the connection between farmers and consumers. That’s why we’re investing in projects across the country to help farm and food businesses tap into this growing market.
Yesterday, USDA announced more than $56 million in grants to support local and community food projects, including a program administered by my agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program awarded over $26 million in competitive grants, divided equally between the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). Read more »
September is National Rice Month, and the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart, Arkansas, is well positioned—literally and figuratively—to support the production, harvest, and public enjoyment of this versatile and nutritious grain. And on the world-food security front, ARS’ Stuttgart center is closing in on genes that regulate rice’s uptake and storage of iron, thiamine and other important vitamins and minerals—a pursuit that could bolster the nutritional value of this cereal grain crop as a staple food for roughly half the world’s population.
In the United States, nearly 85 percent of the rice eaten by consumers is grown on family-run farms across six States: Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. Of these, Arkansas produces about half of all U.S. rice on nearly 1.3 million acres of cropland. Read more »
How will decisions about where we locate new development or upgrade existing infrastructure impact our future economic vitality and fiscal health? How can we site and plan public facilities and housing so they have the greatest benefits for our community? How can we rebound from years of population loss? How can we capitalize on our unique history to become the kind of place we want to be in the future? These were some of Alton, Missouri’s residents’ many questions Smart Growth America addressed during a recent USDA Rural Development supported technical assistance workshop.
During my visit to Alton, I was amazed at this small town’s vision, energy, and commitment to revitalizing its economy and improving the lives of its 870 residents. Local leaders are bringing life back to their downtown by improving the built environment and hosting cultural events, developing the regional food system, strengthening tourism to nearby National Forests and beautiful rivers, and more. However, I’ve seen rural communities with similar dreams fall short of their goals due to a lack of technical expertise, local capacity, financing, and partnerships. That’s why USDA is working with Smart Growth America to bring innovative solutions, funding ideas, and insights from their experiences around the nation to communities who want a brighter future. Read more »