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A Victory for Kids

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack helps students with their lunch at the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Care Center in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010.  Secretary Vilsack is assisted by (L to R) Melkam Mekuria, Center Director and Freida Phiffer, Teacher Assistant. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were at the facility to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). Photo by Chris Smith

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack helps students with their lunch at the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Care Center in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010. Secretary Vilsack is assisted by (L to R) Melkam Mekuria, Center Director and Freida Phiffer, Teacher Assistant. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were at the facility to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). Photo by Chris Smith

When I first stepped into my role as Secretary of Agriculture, President Obama and I highlighted healthier school meals as a top priority; and today, we made great strides toward that goal with the passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. Read more »

Urbana People’s Garden leverages improved nutritional choices among low-income families

Three Sister Garden volunteers (left to right), Joe Stefanski, Glen Hartman (with Choco), Janet Day Jackson, and Lynn Connor, taking a break from pumpkin harvest.

Three Sister Garden volunteers (left to right), Joe Stefanski, Glen Hartman (with Choco), Janet Day Jackson, and Lynn Connor, taking a break from pumpkin harvest.

Employees of USDA-Agriculture Research Service in Urbana, Illinois teamed up with the University of Illinois to establish a unique Peoples Garden this year.  The garden was named ‘Three Sisters’ because we grew variations of the three main agricultural crops of some Native Americans: maize, beans and squash.  The garden produced sweet corn, which has been improved in multiple, significant ways by the University of Illinois.  We also grew 14 cultivars of edamame developed in Urbana by retired USDA-ARS plant breeder Richard Bernard.  In addition to green beans, we also cultivated several types of pumpkins, recognizing Illinois grows 95% of the nation’s pumpkins used in processing. Read more »

USDA Provides Recovery Act Funds to Bring Broadband to the Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation

More than 7,000 rural residents in a remote area of Arizona will soon be connected to the world at large thanks to Recovery Act support from USDA Rural Development. Read more »

California Culinary Academy Members and San Francisco Middle School Partner in Chefs Move to Schools Program

For more than a year now, the Slow Food on Campus members at the California Culinary Academy have proudly partnered with students from San Francisco’s James Lick Middle School.  The staff teamed with the school, which participates in the Chefs Move to Schools program, because of their diverse student body and receptive school administration. Read more »

USDA Rural Development State Director Tours Southwestern North Dakota to Connect with Community Leaders

USDA Rural Development State Director Jasper Schneider, and staff, recently toured seven rural communities in southwestern North Dakota as part of USDA’s ongoing commitment to rural communities.  Schneider participated in conversations with community leaders to identify ways Rural Development programs can most effectively work to improve the quality of life and increase economic opportunity in the region. Read more »

The Recovery Act Saves Jobs and Provides Support for North Carolina Facilities and Businesses

The Franklin Community Volunteer Fire Department, Incorporated in Toast, North Carolina was able to secure a Community Facilities Direct loan through the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development with monies available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The loan has allowed the fire department to construct a new facility for larger fire trucks and emergency vehicles. The building will also serve as an emergency management shelter should the need arise and be equipped with a helipad.

The Franklin Community Volunteer Fire Department, Incorporated in Toast, North Carolina was able to secure a Community Facilities Direct loan through the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development with monies available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The loan has allowed the fire department to construct a new facility for larger fire trucks and emergency vehicles. The building will also serve as an emergency management shelter should the need arise and be equipped with a helipad.

The Franklin Community Volunteer Fire Department, Incorporated in Toast, North Carolina had a problem. The department had outgrown its current facility and was “land locked” with no expansion room. Read more »