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Through Partnership Healthier, Beautiful Communities Grow

Louisiana irises are North American native wildflowers that have the widest color range of all types of irises including blue, white, red and yellow forms. Photo: Keep Slidell Beautiful ©

Louisiana irises are North American native wildflowers that have the widest color range of all types of irises including blue, white, red and yellow forms. Photo: Keep Slidell Beautiful ©

A partnership between USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative and Keep America Beautiful (KAB) was a natural fit. KAB, the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action network, has been engaging individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their communities for over 50 years, through a grassroots network of nearly 1,000 local affiliates across the country. The People’s Garden Initiative – established in 2009 by Secretary Vilsack – challenges USDA employees to create sustainable gardens that benefit their communities through collaborative efforts. Read more »

USDA/1890 Scholar Welcomes Opportunity to “Give Back”

Five months ago, I was offered one of the greatest opportunities of my budding career with USDA, an invitation to join the Office of Advocacy and Outreach as the Interim Lead for the USDA/1890 Program. I eagerly and enthusiastically accepted the challenge, and what an AMAZING experience it has been! Why so much excitement one may ask? The answer is quite simple, serving as the Interim Lead of the 1890 Program has given me the opportunity to do what every public servant is called to do….“give back.” Read more »

Detroit’s Eastern Market: A Food Hub in a Food Desert

Shed Two at Detroit’s Eastern Market

Shed Two at Detroit’s Eastern Market

Look up Wayne County, Michigan, home to Detroit, in USDA’s Food Environment Atlas and it is obvious that local residents have some significant challenges in accessing healthful food.  An alarmingly high number of households that lack a car in Wayne County are located further than one mile from the closest grocery store, meaning that many families struggle to get access to fresh and healthy food.   Read more »

Wolf Monitoring with the Ho-Chunk Nation

Wolf captured and collared by USDA WS

Wolf captured and collared by USDA WS

Wolves have an intrinsic value among Ho-Chunk people.  The Nation is dedicated to ensuring that wolves remain on the landscape to preserve their role in Ho-Chunk culture for future generations. Read more »

St. Louis Chef Continues Lifelong Child Nutrition Efforts through Chefs Move to School

It was a pleasure to learn about Dr. D’Aun Carrell’s career-long commitment to children’s nutrition.  Even more so to discover her involvement with Chefs Move to Schools, part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s www.LetsMove.gov campaign to help solve the problem of childhood obesity.  The initiative was a natural fit, as she’s been matching local St. Louis chefs with schools since 1992.

Dr. Carrell’s path to the kitchen began at age three, when she learned to cook with her grandmother for the ranch hands of her Texas upbringing.  She brings those early cooking experiences full-circle in her nutrition and cooking lessons for kindergarten through grade 6 children in her curriculum.  Carrell is also active with the American Culinary Federation’s Chef & Child Foundation, for which she serves as the chair of the St. Louis chapter. Read more »

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority-The First Indian Company to use USDA Loan Processes-Upgrades Telephone Service for Members

USDA Rural Development South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks recently awarded the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) Telephone Authority headquartered in Eagle Butte a $37.9 million USDA Telecommunication Infrastructure Loan to complete a total fiber to premises build out.

Attending the award ceremony was CRST Elders, Ione Lee and Delphine Red Fox.  Delphine Red Fox‘s husband Steve Red Fox spent over 30 years working in the rural telecommunications industry and a majority of his time was with the CRST Telephone Authority.  He was the first employee to retire from CRST Telephone Authority in 2005, a significant milestone for himself, his family and also for the company. Steve began his career in the 1960′s with aerial plant construction and then moved into the copper underground plant in the 1970′s as the company became a REA borrower. Read more »