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Appalachian Initiative Seeks to Help Rural Communities in 13 States to Develop Jobs and Grow the Economy

Last week, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan and a delegation of senior officials traveled to Abingdon, Virginia, to announce the Appalachian Regional Development Initiative, an Interagency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) designed to build a stronger and more diversified economy in Appalachia.  The delegation included Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl. Read more »

We Built the Dataset and Map, Now You Can Design a Farmers Market App!

In 2010, the USDA National Farmers Market Directory counted over 6,200 operational farmers markets in the country.  That’s more than a 16 percent growth in farmers markets from 2009. In every state and season, shoppers flock to nearby farmers markets in search of healthy, fresh foods.  Farmers markets can offer it all: from seasonal, fresh produce to local meats, dairy products to locally baked bread and fragrant cut flowers. Read more »

Access to Nutritious, Locally-Grown Food on the Rise

Krissy Young, NASS employee, picks organic blueberries with her family at a nearby farm in Ashton, Md.

Krissy Young, NASS employee, picks organic blueberries with her family at a nearby farm in Ashton, Md.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio Read more »

Food Safety And Inspection Service Inspector Recognized For Innovative Thinking On Cost-Cutting Proposals

When I learned this week of one of our folks being named a candidate finalist for the White House Savings Award, I couldn’t have been more pleased with her idea and effort to improve the way in which we try to achieve a higher standard of how we do things every day. Marjorie Cook, an FSIS inspector from Gobles, Mich., was among four finalists this year for the Obama administration’s White House Save Award, a contest that seeks cost-cutting ideas from rank-and-file federal employees. Through dedication and creative thinking, Marjorie’s idea stood out from 18,000 submissions on how to be more cost-effective in the federal government, which will result in saving taxpayer dollars. President Obama plans on including the winning idea in his proposed fiscal year 2012 budget. Read more »

Household Food Security Report: Call for Action

Today, USDA’s Economic Research Service released the report “Household Food Security in the United States 2009,” and reported that 17.4 million households had difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of resources, about the same as in 2008. In more than a third of those households, at least one member did not get enough to eat at some time during the year and normal eating patterns were disrupted due to limited resources. Read more »

Alabama Gets the Gold of Distinction!

I was thrilled to stand in the Civic Center in Pelham, Ala., on October 29th to celebrate the State of Alabama’s great accomplishment of 52 Alabama Public Schools meeting USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge.  Alabama has received 39, more than half of HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Awards of Distinction that have been awarded in the nation.  Two schools received HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Awards, seven silver and four bronze. Read more »