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Successful Weatherization of Navajo Homes Made Possible with USDA Help

Two groups of volunteers worked to replace the roof and build a sturdy new porch with wheelchair ramp for a Navajo resident.

Though the morning could be cool, even pleasant at times, scorching heat was promised to each of the more than 250 volunteer students who signed up and traveled – some more than 2,000 miles – to Monument Valley, Utah, to work in the desert sun on Navajo homes. Read more »

Opening Doors for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers in National Retail Markets

A GAP-certified farm field. Through a new agreement, AMS will provide auditing services to verify farmers are meeting Produce GAP Harmonized Food Safety Standards and Wal-Mart specific food safety requirements. Photo provided by Mission Produce

When buying produce, many consumers note food safety as one of the most important things they consider.  Consumers prefer produce backed by trustworthy verified and certified processes. As a result, more retail and foodservice sectors are requiring growers to undergo food safety audits.  In an effort to meet this demand, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Fresh Products Division, which provides voluntary, audit-based programs utilizing Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP), recently reached an agreement with Wal-Mart.  Read more »

Building a home, a community, friendships…and values with USDA RD Self-Help Program

The Fonseca family in the living room of their new home.

“Even decades from now, after we die, our son will remember what we did to give him a home,” said Moises Fonseca in the comfortable living room of his new home. His six-year old son, also named Moises, smiled shyly at his dad. Read more »

What Anglers Can Do To Fight Invasive Species

Hi, I’m Dr. Janet Whaley, an aquatic veterinarian and avid angler.  I guess you could say fish are my passion!  I work every day to ensure the continued health of our nation’s fish, so that in my spare time, I can be out on the water with my fishing pole and a camera.

Invasive species can spread unintentionally on land and in the water.  This could damage our waters and our forests – and leave us with unhealthy or fewer fish to catch.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be sure I can bring my family fishing for years to come.  So I take proper steps to help keep invasive species in check.  The basic steps all anglers (and boaters, too) need to keep in mind include: Read more »

“Ask Karen” Tweets to Reduce Foodborne Illness at Fourth of July Barbecues

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service started its Fourth of July “party” a little early this year, hosting a bilingual Twitter party on June 28 to answer its tweeps’ food safety questions in advance of any gatherings they are hosting. “Ask Karen,” FSIS’ virtual food safety representative, and her Spanish-language counterpart “Pregúntele a Karen” answered  questions from @USDAFoodSafety and @USDAFoodSafe_es about food safety around the Fourth of July holiday and summer in general. Read more »

Celebrate the Red, White, Blue and Orange

Keep the lemonade flowing this Fourth of July!   The stars and stripes and fireworks would not be the same without citrus–iced tea with lemon, key lime pie, lemon chiffon cake, fish with lemon, orange sorbet, lemon-garlic chicken and avocado lime salsa.  And, as the temperatures rise, kids across American set up makeshift lemonade stands as a favorite way to earn a little spending money. Take time to stop and enjoy a glass.

Make this Fourth of July a celebration of citrus’ role in this holiday’s food and culture. My hope is to raise awareness of the serious threat that diseases like citrus greening pose to U.S. citrus so Americans can protect the refreshing flavors of summer. Read more »