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High Tunnel Addition Helps Urban Farmer Feed Portland

Stacey Givens, The Side Yard Farm and Kitchen in Portland, Oregon

Stacey Givens, The Side Yard Farm and Kitchen in Portland, Oregon.

Portland has become one of the top cities in the nation for its food scene—from trendy neighborhood food carts to fine dining to farm-to-table restaurants. It’s also a place where people embrace eating locally-grown food. Like, seriously, uber-local. That’s why urban farmers like Stacey Givens are making such an impact on Portland’s appetite.

“I was drawn to Portland because of the food scene, and the restaurant and farming scene,” Stacey says.

She owns a unique operation in the northeast Cully neighborhood called The Side Yard Farm and Kitchen. It’s an urban farm with three separate lots (all within one mile from each other), a supper and brunch club and a catering company. Read more »

Five Things You Should Know About USDA Climate Hubs In 2015

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) supervisory plant physiologist Dr. Jerry Hatfield discuss gathering information on climate changes and impacts.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) supervisory plant physiologist Dr. Jerry Hatfield discuss gathering information on climate changes and impacts.

In October the Regional Hub Leads gathered in Washington D.C. to discuss their successes and challenges over the last year. Tasked with producing science-based, region-specific information and tools for their stakeholders, the USDA Regional Climate Hubs spent 2014 working hard to ensure they understood who their constituents where, building regional partnerships, and identifying regional needs before rolling up their sleeves in 2015 to start producing results. Read more »

Library Garden Provides ‘Rest Stop’ for Monarch Butterflies

The pollinator garden

After one year, the pollinator garden has grown exponentially, feeding multiple species of pollinators and creating an outdoor classroom. NRCS photo by Ellen Starr.

The pollinator garden at our library in Princeton, Ill. is a popular rest stop for monarch butterflies on their cross-continental journey. My agency, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), worked with local partners and businesses to create a 2,400-square-foot pollinator garden as a way to educate the public and provide needed pollinator habitat.

We planted the garden designed by our landscape architect Vicki Morrical in 2014. It features 28 plant species and more than 700 plants. Signs help visitors identify the different plants. Read more »

FSA Partnership Helps New Farmer Connect to the Land

Maria Moreira (left), executive director of World Farmers and Flat Mentor Farm, with Sangiwa Eliamani

Maria Moreira (left), executive director of World Farmers and Flat Mentor Farm, partnered with FSA to help Sangiwa Eliamani build his farming operation.

Growing up in Tanzania, East Africa, Sangiwa Eliamani became a skilled farmer producing rice, millet and cotton throughout the year, using typical hand tools. He had no concerns about seasonal timing or finding markets for his crops, until he moved to the United States and attempted to farm in Massachusetts.

“Over there [in Tanzania] it’s very different,” he said. “We don’t have this limited time to grow.  We have easier access to land and markets to sell our products.” Read more »

Five Conservation Stories from 2015 You Should Read

2015 was a banner year for voluntary conservation efforts in the United States.  Whether protecting the farmlands, grasslands and wetlands with partnership efforts and conservation easements, helping new farmers get started with conservation on smaller scale farms or providing conservation solutions for organic, transitioning-to-organic and conventional farms or ranches across the country, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service celebrates the voluntary, private-lands conservation efforts of the partners, farmers and ranchers. Together they represent some of the strongest stewards of the American landscape. Here are five 2015 stories that highlight a big year for conservation: Read more »

Northern Lights Shine on Capitol Hill

US Capitol Christmas Tree lighting up the West Lawn of Capitol Hill

US Capitol Christmas Tree lights up the West Lawn of Capitol Hill (Photo credit: Sherri Eng, US Forest Service)

When U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan asked Anna Devolld, a ten year old child from Alaska, to flip the switch, a momentary hush came across the crowd as thousands of lights on a massive tree illumined the West Lawn just below both Houses of Congress.

More than a year of planning went into the lighting of the first US Capitol Christmas Tree from Alaska. Hand crafted ornaments made by hundreds of children and other folks in Alaska now bask in the glow of thousands of lights on the 74 ft. Lutz spruce harvested from the US Forest Service’s Chugach National Forest. Read more »