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Buzz Over to the #PollinatorWeek Festival

 

Celebrate at the Pollinator Week Festival on June 21 at USDA Headquarters. (Photo credit: 2013 Pollinator Week logo courtesy of Pollinator Partnership)

Celebrate at the Pollinator Week Festival on June 21 at USDA Headquarters. (Photo credit: 2013 Pollinator Week logo courtesy of Pollinator Partnership)

How do pollinators affect your life? Well, if you’ve ever eaten a blueberry, chocolate bar or tomato, then you owe a big thank you to a small pollinator. Pollinators are birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, small mammals, and most importantly, bees. They are responsible for pollinating one out of every three bites of food we eat. But these invaluable creatures are facing declines. That’s why USDA agencies, other federal departments and partners share knowledge and collaborate on efforts to help increase awareness and tackle challenges facing pollinators.  Read more »

You’re Invited: Secretary Vilsack Hosts Google+ Hangout on StrikeForce Opportunities

On Monday, Jun. 17, 2013, you are invited to join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as he sits down to his very first Google+ Hangout to discuss opportunities available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity.

On Monday, Jun. 17, 2013, you are invited to join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as he sits down to his very first Google+ Hangout to discuss opportunities available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity.

Are you a community-based organization or farmer in a rural community that faces persistent poverty, or just someone who wants to improve life in Rural America? Do you have questions on how you can partner with USDA to take advantage of community resources and promote economic development in your community?

On Monday, June 17, you are invited to join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as he sits down to his very first Google+ Hangout to discuss opportunities available through USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity. The Secretary will discuss USDA’s work to date and how YOUR community can get involved. We’ve assembled a panel of experts with different perspectives to help provide guidance and best practices for partnering with USDA – whether you want to apply for programs and services, or want to help communities and individuals benefit from available assistance. Read more »

Interpreting Data to Modernize Food Safety: Meet Dr. Joanna Zablotsky Kufel

Dr. Joanna Zablotsky Kufel discovered community and public health at Tufts University in Massachusetts. Afterwards, she worked in public health for a couple of years and then moved to Baltimore, Md., where she earned her Masters in 2003 and Ph.D. in 2009 at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “After learning all about food safety at the state and local level, I still wanted to learn more about food safety at the federal level, where you can influence food safety throughout the entire food chain,” said Dr. Zablotsky Kufel.

Dr. Zablotsky Kufel began her career with USDA as a summer intern working for the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). Today she works as a Public Health Food Safety Analyst with FSIS, analyzing data from across FSIS gathered by inspectors in the field, and partner agencies to evaluate FSIS policies and performance. The analyses performed and reports produced allow FSIS to effectively use science and data to understand foodborne illness and emerging trends, respond to those risks and ensure that food safety inspection aligns with decreasing those risks. Read more »

Bringing Rural America Home to the Hills of the South Dakota Prairie

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Housing Service (RUS) Administrator Tammye Treviño visit to South Dakota to co-chair a StrikeForce meeting in Sisseton, SD, attend a Housing Fair, and visit homes and facilities financed by USDA, Rural Development (RD) as part of National Homeownership Month, on Monday, June 3, 2013. USDA photo by Tammi Schone.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Housing Service (RUS) Administrator Tammye Treviño visit to South Dakota to co-chair a StrikeForce meeting in Sisseton, SD, attend a Housing Fair, and visit homes and facilities financed by USDA, Rural Development (RD) as part of National Homeownership Month, on Monday, June 3, 2013. USDA photo by Tammi Schone.

With great pleasure, South Dakota hosted Tammye Trevino, USDA Rural Development’s Administrator for Housing and Community Facilities, as she began the Agency’s Homeownership Month tour in Sisseton, S.D.  Her news about USDA’s initiatives and welcoming spirit of collaboration and forward-thinking were very encouraging and much appreciated by all! Read more »

Open for Business: USDA Farmers Market Kicks Off New Season with a Bang

Mark your calendars. The USDA Farmers Market will open on June 7. Make plans to be with us at 9:45 a.m. for the opening at 12th and Independence, Ave., S.W.

Mark your calendars. The USDA Farmers Market will open on June 7. Make plans to be with us at 9:45 a.m. for the opening at 12th and Independence, Ave., S.W.

As the USDA Farmers Market prepares to begin a new season, we invite everyone to come celebrate the richness and diversity of the market and the DC community that brings us all together. Whether you’re a federal employee, a sight-seeing tourist, or a long-time resident, we are all a part of what makes DC unique. We all play a role in supporting the businesses and economy of the city and the region. You are guaranteed a fun time if you join us on June 7 for our market opening. Read more »

Going Green by Reducing Food Waste

At this very moment, an underappreciated tool for combating climate change may be hiding in your chiller drawer or at the back of your pantry.  By keeping that limp carrot or dusty box of pasta out of our nation’s landfills, you can help reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates that food is the single largest component of municipal solid waste going to landfills (accounting for over 20% by weight) and that that landfills are the third largest source of methane (16% of national total).  By reducing the amount of food we toss into the trash, we can help reduce these potent greenhouse gas emissions.

The benefits do not stop there, however. Read more »