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Celebrate National Nutrition Month in your Community!

Virginia Beach, VA, a Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties site, displays MyPlate to promote healthy eating and active living as part of the Mayor’s Action Challenge efforts.

Virginia Beach, VA, a Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties site, displays MyPlate to promote healthy eating and active living as part of the Mayor’s Action Challenge efforts.

In honor of National Nutrition Month®, MyPlate is sharing resources to help you bite into a healthy lifestyle everywhere you go! This blog highlights resources for encouraging a healthy lifestyle within your community. Learn about healthy eating at home and at work here.

There are many ways to engage a community in healthy eating! Create a community garden, start a cooking club, offer nutrition classes . . . the list goes on and on. During National Nutrition Month® and throughout the year, find a variety of ways to lead your community into a healthier future with MyPlate. Read more »

Tlingit Master Carver Restores a 74-year-old Totem in Alaska

Tlingit Master Carver Wayne Price of Haines stands near the totem he is restoring. The totem has overlooked the Auke Recreation Area for more than 70 years. (U.S. Forest Service photo by Laurie Craig)

Tlingit Master Carver Wayne Price of Haines stands near the totem he is restoring. The totem has overlooked the Auke Recreation Area for more than 70 years. (U.S. Forest Service photo by Laurie Craig)

In a small U.S. Forest Service workshop in Juneau, Alaska, a skilled Alaska Native artist is meticulously bringing a traditional artifact back to life. Tlingit Master Carver Wayne Price of Haines has begun the process of restoring the totem, which has overlooked the Auke Recreation Area near Juneau for more than 70 years.

In 1941, Frank St. Clair, a Tlingit from Hoonah, and two members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, originally carved the Yax té or Big Dipper totem, which symbolizes a “place where a strong tribe flourished.” The Aak’w Kwáan, according to historical documents, were Tlingit people and among the first to settle in the Juneau area. Read more »

Promoting Skills and Training for Low-Income Workers

Cross-posted from the White House Council of Economic Advisers blog:

Last year, the President directed Vice President Biden to lead a review of federal job training programs in order to identify and implement steps to make these programs more “job-driven” and responsive to the needs of employers. The idea was that — even as the economy continues to recover, with more open jobs than at any point since 2001 — we need to do more to make sure that we are giving workers the skills they need to compete for those jobs. This is core to the President’s vision for “middle-class economics,” in which Americans who are unemployed or in low-wage jobs have the opportunity to train and find jobs that create pathways to the middle-class.

Friday, as part of this effort, Secretaries Vilsack and Perez announced $200 million for projects designed to identify the most effective strategies to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) improve their skills and find jobs. Read more »

The US Forest Service and International Day of Forests

Tree planting in Kfardebian, Mount Lebanon. (Photo Credit: Lebanon Reforestation Initiative)

Tree planting in Kfardebian, Mount Lebanon. (Photo Credit: Lebanon Reforestation Initiative)

Since 2013, the United Nations (UN) has selected March 21 to be the unique day that the world thinks about the importance of trees. The U.S. Forest Service celebrates the International Day of Forests by bringing awareness about our involvement with international partners to continue to protect the health of forest worldwide.

For instance in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean country of Lebanon, the power of one symbolic cedar tree, the image on the country’s flag, captures the promise and strength of an entire nation. Read more »

Keeping our Promise in Kentucky

USDA Under Secretary Lisa Mensah meets with Keith Gabbard, General Manager of Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative in McKee, Ky., on March 3, 2015. Gabbard described the company’s successful “fiber-to-the-premise” broadband project, which was funded in part with loan and grant funds from USDA’s Broadband Initiatives Program. As a result of the project, PRTC was awarded with a Smart Rural Community designation from the National Telephone Cooperative Association.

USDA Under Secretary Lisa Mensah meets with Keith Gabbard, General Manager of Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative in McKee, Ky., on March 3, 2015. Gabbard described the company’s successful “fiber-to-the-premise” broadband project, which was funded in part with loan and grant funds from USDA’s Broadband Initiatives Program. As a result of the project, PRTC was awarded with a Smart Rural Community designation from the National Telephone Cooperative Association.

During my trip to Kentucky, I was truly gratified to see Rural Development’s footprint throughout small towns spread across all regions of the Commonwealth. From water lines, broadband networks, wastewater treatment plants, single and multi-family housing, electric lines, senior centers, hospitals and small businesses, Rural Development helps build communities from the ground up working in partnership with local groups.

Last year, 73 Kentucky counties enduring some of the state’s toughest economic challenges were designated to receive targeted USDA support through USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative. Soon thereafter, President Obama designated a region of eight counties in the state’s southeast corner as one of the country’s first five Promise Zones.  Under these designations, USDA works with local partners to leverage federal resources to address the area’s chronic poverty challenges and improve the overall quality of life in the region. Read more »

Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Sees the Power of Partnership in Urban Flood Control

Flood control and prevention tour participants (L-R) NRCS State Engineer Tim Haakenstad, NRD Assistant General Manager Marlin Petermann, Under Secretary Robert Bonnie, State Conservationist Craig Derickson and NRCS District Conservationist Neil Jensen. NRCS photo.

Flood control and prevention tour participants (L-R) NRCS State Engineer Tim Haakenstad, NRD Assistant General Manager Marlin Petermann, Under Secretary Robert Bonnie, State Conservationist Craig Derickson and NRCS District Conservationist Neil Jensen. NRCS photo.

The saying, “When it rains, it pours,” can often apply to the heavy rain events in Omaha, Neb. where flooding is a concern. Due to the large amount of hard surfaces – roofs, parking lots, streets, etc. – a lot of the rainfall doesn’t soak into the ground. This generates runoff, which can quickly lead to flooding.

On a recent tour, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie was able to see firsthand how the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) flood control projects are helping to protect lives and property in Omaha. Read more »