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Community Partners: A Recipe for Success

Miguel Villarreal, NUSD Director Food and Nutritional Services explains to USDA Food and Nutrition Service Deputy Administrator for SNP Audrey Rowe how NUSD brings nutrition and wellness environments to each district campus.

Miguel Villarreal, NUSD Director Food and Nutritional Services explains to USDA Food and Nutrition Service Deputy Administrator for SNP Audrey Rowe how NUSD brings nutrition and wellness environments to each district campus.

Top U.S. Department of Agriculture officials came to Novato in September to learn about the district’s success in partnering with various community organizations to bring fresh, local and organic fruits and vegetables to school meals while supporting local farmers. Project Lunch is the culmination of several innovative developments sought by Food & Nutritional Services Director Miguel Villarreal since coming to Novato in 2002. “We’re putting nutrition and wellness in the forefront,” Villarreal stated to the crowd gathered in Novato High School’s cafeteria for the kick-off event on September 9. Whole Foods, Marin Organics, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Teens Turning Green and the Marin Department of Public Health are just a few of the partners that participated in the event. Novato High, the event site sponsor, is leading the movement by launching the district’s first Food Club. Food Clubs are made up of students, food service staff, farmers, chefs, and other school community partners working together to improve school lunches through hands-on learning. The Club will take field trips to farms, farmers markets, and green grocers and will prepare meals and host chef demos. Read more »

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Visits South Carolina Farms

Left to right-- USDA Rural Development State Director Vernita Dore, USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Laurie Lawson, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack,  Congressman John Spratt and Bennettsville farmer, Frank Rogers, III., Monday at the McColl Gin Company in Bennettsville, SC.

Left to right-- USDA Rural Development State Director Vernita Dore, USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Laurie Lawson, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Congressman John Spratt and Bennettsville farmer, Frank Rogers, III., Monday at the McColl Gin Company in Bennettsville, SC.

On Monday, Secretary Tom Vilsack and Congressman John Spratt visited several PeeDee area farms in South Carolina, and spoke with local leaders and farmers about the importance of developing a strong rural economy.  USDA State Directors, Vernita F. Dore, State Director for Rural Development, Ann English, State Conservationist for NRCS and Laurie Lawson, State Executive Director for FSA, also joined the tour of local farms. Read more »

Event Highlights Recovery Act Broadband Investment in Northeastern Minnesota

(Left to right) USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer, Senator Klobuchar, Representative Oberstar and Senator Franken at an event marking a Recovery Act Broadband Award that will bring Internet service to two counties in Minnesota.

(Left to right) USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer, Senator Klobuchar, Representative Oberstar and Senator Franken at an event marking a Recovery Act Broadband Award that will bring Internet service to two counties in Minnesota.

Several years ago, commissioners in Lake County in Northeastern Minnesota began researching the possibility of bringing fully network connected broadband services to the region. Read more »

USDA Works to Further Agricultural Statistics Worldwide

In Nigeria, NASS representatives Matt Deaton, Terry Holland and John Campbell worked with Kaduna State Agricultural Development Programme, National Bureau of Statistics Federal Department of Agriculture to develop a stronger national agricultural statistics program.

In Nigeria, NASS representatives Matt Deaton, Terry Holland and John Campbell worked with Kaduna State Agricultural Development Programme, National Bureau of Statistics Federal Department of Agriculture to develop a stronger national agricultural statistics program.

Today the United Nations is celebrating the first World Statistics Day, to raise awareness of official statistics, which are premised on the core value of service, professionalism and integrity. As one of the principal statistical agencies in the U.S., the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has been heavily involved in establishing and improving agricultural statistics systems in countries around the world since the end of World War II. Read more »

How One Area Agency on Aging is Leading the Way

Deputy Secretary Merrigan and Farmers Market staff in Charlottesville.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan far left shares a humors moment with , Local Food Hub Director Marisa Vrooman, USDA Rural Development State Director Ellen Davis, Local Food Hub Director Kate Collier and Local Food Hub staffer, Alan Moore.

“The Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) are myth-busters, plain and simple,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan at a recent funding announcement held at JABA’s main office and Adult Daycare Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. Read more »

FNS working to end hunger in Southwest Region

Under Secretary Kevin Concannon speaks to hunger advocates at the listening session in New Orleans on September 30.

Under Secretary Kevin Concannon speaks to hunger advocates at the listening session in New Orleans on September 30.

Big things are going on in the Southwest region of the U.S. when it comes to feeding families.  USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service partnered with the No Kid Hungry Campaign lead by Share Our Strength and Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. Earlier this month, we met to discuss strategies to help this campaign meet its goal of increasing participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Summer Meals in Arkansas.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of work to be done as we are seeing more and more people struggling to put food on the table but through our partnerships we hope to make a difference one community at a time. Read more »