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USDA Teams up with Horton’s Kids to Fight Childhood Obesity

Cross-posted from the Let’s Move! blog.

In the ongoing fight against childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama started the Let’s Move! campaign to help children be more physically fit and conscious of the food they eat. To help promote this initiative, employees from USDA and other federal agencies recently teamed up with the local non-profit Horton’s Kids, an organization recognized for its programs aiming to improve the lives of Washington D.C. kids. Read more »

FSA Participates in Hispanic Higher Education Recruitment Event

The Farm Service Agency was proud to lead the way recently for USDA representation at a major national Hispanic educator’s event. The occasion was the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Annual Convention, held this year in San Diego. The FSA California State Office was asked to coordinate our attendance and I was detailed to set up and staff our booth alongside other California staff with FSA and Rural Development. FSA’s booth seemed to be the focal point for student attention and several other USDA agencies were also successful in sharing information with those attending. Read more »

Protecting Paradise

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 profile.

It seems that even Paradise on Earth requires a bit of pest control once in a while. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers working in Hawaii know the tropical island state can look like a gigantic Garden of Eden to invasive insects, including the Erythrina gall wasp that’s been wreaking havoc on native wiliwili trees as well as an introduced favorite, the coral bean tree. Read more »

Outdoor Recreation is an Essential Part of American Culture

The Veterans Day fee waiver provides the perfect opportunity to take in the last of the fall colors for 2010, like this scenic view on the Wayne NF's Ironton Ranger District in southeast Ohio. (US Forest Service photo by Phil Sammon)

The Veterans Day fee waiver provides the perfect opportunity to take in the last of the fall colors for 2010, like this scenic view on the Wayne NF's Ironton Ranger District in southeast Ohio. (US Forest Service photo by Phil Sammon)

Upcoming Veterans Day, November 11, marks the fourth time this year that the U.S. Forest Service is offering national fee waivers on recreation sites it manages. The choice of this date has been made to honors the country’s veterans, members of the armed services, and their families. Read more »

A New Assignment Near Jalalabad

Members of the Missouri ADT survey the Kabul River with USDA’s Tom Vermeersch.

Members of the Missouri ADT survey the Kabul River with USDA’s Tom Vermeersch.

Forward Operating Base Finley-Shields, Nangarhar, Afghanistan – My new assignment is in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province near Jalalabad, the second largest population center in Afghanistan, along the volatile Afghanistan-Pakistan border. In August, I left Camp Blessing in Kunar province, just north of Jalalabad, to assist here. My new home is Forward Operating Base Finley-Shields in Nangarhar, also home to the Nangarhar provincial reconstruction team (PRT) and Behsud District Support Team. Part of the base is an old Soviet motel built several decades, in which I share a room with an Army medic, a great guy whom I’ve taught a few songs on the guitar. A total of nine civilians from three agencies work here (State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and USDA). In addition, the Missouri Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) of the U.S. Army National Guard also calls Finley-Shields home. In the past eight weeks, I’ve enjoyed being part of this larger team. The ADT allows us civilians to get off base more and interact directly with Afghan farmers and extension agents. I also noticed how this focused, comprehensive U.S. effort here in Nangarhar is instilling greater confidence in the Afghan people. Read more »

The USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone Spreads Food Safety Education to Students and Health Enthusiasts in Washington, D.C.

As the nation’s capitol geared up for Halloween and midterm elections, the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone (FSDZ) was equally busy at the end of October spreading its Be Food Safe messages to Washington, D.C. residents and tourists. In just one week, the FSDZ hosted a Food Safety Education Camp on Gallaudet University’s campus for students from Kendall Demonstration Elementary School and Maryland School for the Deaf, followed by an exhibit at the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon Health and Fitness Expo by GE, where over 100,000 health-conscious participants were ready to learn illness prevention measures. Read more »