Cindy Collins (pictured) and about 20 other growers in Oregon’s Hood River Valley use an environmentally-friendly ‘burn box’ to eliminate pruned and diseased wood from their orchards.
“The burn box lets us burn during the summer months, when normally there’s a ban. It’s a useful tool. It burns really clean.” — Cindy Collins
See more photos from the Hood River Air Quality Project on Flickr.
When Cindy Collins wakes up in Oregon and looks out at her 46-acre orchard—with Mt. Adams towering in the background—she feels like she’s at summer camp. Read more »
Rural Development Virginia State Director Basil Gooden (left) and RHS Administrator Tony Hernandez (right) present Alias and Ansam Khader (and their adorable daughter) the symbolic key to their new home.
Last month, I had the privilege of witnessing the American dream come to life for a Rockingham, Virginia family who has just purchased and built their first home with the help of a USDA Rural Development (RD) direct low-interest loan. It was an honor to help Rural Housing Service Administrator Tony Hernandez, Virginia Rural Development employees and local officials welcome Alias and Ansam Khader and their three children to their newly constructed home, which we did via a key presentation ceremony on the family’s new front porch.
Prior to the ceremony, I had the opportunity to spend time with the Khaders as they graciously took me and others on a tour of the house. They shared with us stories of their journey to this special day and visions of their bright future. I quickly learned that the Khaders were a remarkable family, having overcome extraordinary circumstances. Read more »
By partnering with Cacao Hunters, a specialty chocolate producer, Colombia’s indigenous Arhauco farmers have been able to sell their cacao at a premium price. USDA’s Cacao for Peace initiative will help replicate this success on a larger scale by creating new opportunities for Colombia’s 35,000 small-scale cacao farmers.
I’ve learned a lot about cacao lately. I learned that it’s pronounced ka-COW. I learned that it’s grown on trees in tropical climates and is the essential ingredient in chocolate, cocoa powder and cocoa butter. I learned that it’s not to be confused with coca, which is an illicit crop and the primary ingredient in cocaine.
I also learned that Colombia, despite having near-perfect growing conditions for the cacao tree, produces a small fraction of the world’s supply. So how might cacao help solidify peace in Colombia after a 52-year armed conflict and, at the same time, enhance the U.S.-Colombia relationship? I discovered how when I visited last month and learned more about USDA’s Cacao for Peace project. Read more »
It’s important for consumers to be concerned about food safety. From shopping to storing leftovers, USDA provides easily accessible information to help keep food safe every step of the way.
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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
July is the height of summer grilling season, and throughout the month USDA is highlighting changes made to the U.S. food safety system over the course of this Administration. For an interactive look at USDA’s work to ensure your food is safe, visit the USDA Results project on Medium.com and read Chapter Seven: Safer Food and Greater Consumer Confidence
Have you ever wondered how to safely grill your burgers? How about determining the latest food safety recalls? USDA provides a number of resources to ensure that you have access to the most up to date information on food safety.
Keeping the food on America’s tables safe to eat is a serious challenge and USDA is serious about helping families avoid dangerous bacteria and other contaminants that can lead to foodborne illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in six Americans are likely to become ill from foodborne illness each year, but most of these illnesses are thought to be preventable. That’s why USDA provides a number of tools consumers can use in order to prevent or reduce the risk of foodborne illness that would spoil the meal. Read more »
USDA engages in extensive partner engagement and collaboration with both traditional and non-traditional partners, including tribal organizations.
No American should have to go hungry. USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs make great strides in reaching those in need, but challenges and barriers persist to eradicating food insecurity in our nation. That’s where leadership and partnerships come into play.
Earlier this month, FNS had the opportunity to participate in an interactive discussion on the obstacles faced on effectively communicating to specific populations at the 2016 Feeding America Annual Conference in Chicago. The dialogue focused on reaching the most vulnerable Americans: those in Tribal communities, teens and our nation’s proud military veterans. The hurdles to reach all three are unique, and strategies require nuance, understanding and a bold commitment to better connect individuals with nutrition assistance information. Read more »
Elanor Starmer, Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service, is proud that her agency creates opportunities and provides tools for American organic producers to sell their products at home and abroad.
Elanor Starmer is the Administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which facilitates the strategic marketing of agricultural products in the U.S. and internationally. Prior to becoming AMS Administrator, Starmer was a Senior Advisor to Secretary Tom Vilsack and has been with the department since 2011. This interview focused on AMS’s National Organic Program.
“The USDA isn’t one or the other, it’s all of the above. We serve organic producers, non-organic producers and everyone else as well as we possibly can.” – Elanor Starmer Read more »