Children displaying the new quarters. Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service
The Shawnee National Forest is one of few places in Illinois where you will find large open spaces to explore and be immersed in nature. One of its special places is the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area. Each year several hundred thousand visitors are drawn to the strange and beautiful rock formations found at Garden of the Gods. One of the most famous formations is Camel Rock.
This special place was recently celebrated through the launch of the latest America the Beautiful Quarter, featuring the Shawnee’s unique Camel Rock formation. More than 1,300 people came out to celebrate; forever placing the beauty of the Shawnee into pocket change. Read more »
(Left to right) Dr. Craig Morris, Deputy Administrator, Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program; Angie Snyder, Associate Deputy Administrator, Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program; Administrator Starmer; and Jamie Mitchell from Fair Oaks Farms.
At the Agricultural Marketing Service and across USDA, we often talk about the fact that the face of American agriculture is changing. The ranks of our farmers, especially young and beginning farmers, include a growing number of women, people of color, veterans or folks in their second careers. So-called “traditional” agriculture defies the term as it pursues new strategies, new products, and new markets. Across the country, agriculture is diversifying and evolving to meet changing consumer demands.
I saw the new face of agriculture last week during travels to Illinois and Indiana. My first stop was a roundtable on Women in Agriculture held at FarmedHere in Bedford Park, Illinois, about 15 miles from Chicago. Twenty or so women gathered to talk about their farming goals and to hear about how USDA could support them. This topic is close to my heart – I’m a New Hampshire native, a state with the second highest percentage of women farmers in the country. The women around the table with me represented the new face of ag, but so too did the setting – an indoor, vertical farm that produces basil and microgreens in a facility designed to reduce energy costs and shrink the carbon footprint of growing food. FarmedHere is managed by Megan Klein, an attorney by training who found her calling in urban agriculture and became part of this “new face.” Read more »
NRCS Resource Soil Scientist Jeannine Freyman uses a soil profile to highlight differences in soil types and their suitability for agriculture and other uses at a workshop on the New River Hill Farm. Photo: Tracy Goodson.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is celebrating National Volunteer Week April 10-16, 2016, by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation.
When Otis Donald Philen, Jr. decided to combine his working farm operation with an outdoor classroom, he knew just the group to help―the New River Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).
Philen, director of the SWCD, and other conservation professionals partner with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to improve agricultural education and natural resource protection. In September 2014, New River became the first District in Virginia to own a working farm when Philen deeded a 143-acre tract to the district. Read more »
Research shows that adults working with youth strengthens bullying prevention efforts. Photo courtesy of 4-H.
(4-H’ers from across the country, U.S. territories, and Canada are converging on Washington, DC, for the 4-H National Conference, April 9-14. 4-H National Conference is the premier citizenship and civic engagement opportunity for 4-H members. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides funding and national program leadership for 4-H and is the home of 4-H National Headquarters. This blog has also been published at StopBullying.gov.)
Every day, many young people feel unsafe, disconnected, unsupported, and harmed because of bullying, harassment, and other forms of violence. Be SAFE: Safe, Affirming, and Fair Environments is a Michigan State University Extension initiative that helps communities learn about and address these issues. Be SAFE taps the wisdom and resiliency of young people and invites youth and adults to work in partnership to create relationships and settings that are physically and emotionally safe. Read more »
Western Slope ATV Association work party on Young’s Connector #508. Photo credit: US Forest Service
Your face is dusty. Your All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) is muddy. Your adrenaline is at an all-time high. You have just finished riding one of your favorite trails on the U.S. Forest Service’s Grand Mesa National Forest and couldn’t be happier.
But, do you ever wonder how all these miles of off-highway vehicle, or OHV, trails traversing a vast and diverse landscape stay in good shape? The fact is forests across the nation have the annual challenge of maintaining hundreds of miles of trails with limited budgets and personnel. Read more »
Winning submissions of the E.A.T. School Lunch U.X. Challenge featured on contest website.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) teamed up with techies across the nation to strengthen the integrity and improve the user experience of the National School Lunch Program application. On December 1, 2015, we launched a public “hackathon” contest – the E.A.T. (Electronic Application Transformation) School Lunch U.X. Challenge – to tap into this country’s greatest resource: its people.
Designers and coders have been working furiously to develop a forward-thinking, web-based application for the school meal programs that would revolutionize the way households apply for free and reduced price meals. Nearly 50 individuals, teams and organizations submitted electronic application prototypes, and a panel of five expert judges took to the task of selecting the winners. Read more »