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Category: Food Security

Keeping Kids Fed in Kenyan Schools

Stara Rescue Center students march to greet Ambassador Godec. The ambassador recently visited the center, located in Africa’s largest urban slum of Kibera, Nairobi, to highlight USDA’s support to the center’s students through the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. (Courtesy Photo)

Stara Rescue Center students march to greet Ambassador Godec. The ambassador recently visited the center, located in Africa’s largest urban slum of Kibera, Nairobi, to highlight USDA’s support to the center’s students through the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. (Courtesy Photo)

On Feb. 21, newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec visited the Stara Rescue Center, a school and orphanage located in Africa’s largest urban slum of Kibera, Nairobi. He was there to highlight USDA’s support to the center’s students through the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. The Foreign Agricultural Service program supports education, child development and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education. Read more »

Helping Haiti Recover Three Years Later

On Monday, March 4, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with Haiti’s Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development Thomas Jacques who outlined his three year strategic plan for revitalization of the Haitian agriculture sector.

On Monday, March 4, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with Haiti’s Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development Thomas Jacques who outlined his three year strategic plan for revitalization of the Haitian agriculture sector.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Haiti’s Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Thomas Jacques, today to emphasize USDA’s ongoing commitment to help the Haitian agricultural sector recover from the devastating impact of the 2010 earthquake. Read more »

Open Call to Innovators: Apply to present at G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture

Cross posted from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog:

In an exciting opportunity, the G-8 is inviting innovators to apply to present ideas that demonstrate how open data can be unleashed to increase food security at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data in Agriculture on April 29-30, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Open data is being used by innovators and entrepreneurs around the world to accelerate development, whether it be tracking election transparency in Kenya or providing essential information to rural farmers in Uganda.  The G-8 conference will convene policy makers, thought leaders, food security stakeholders, and data experts to discuss the role of public, agriculturally-relevant data in increasing food security and to build a strategy to spur innovation by making agriculture data more accessible.  As part of the conference, selected applicants will be invited to showcase  innovative uses of open data for food security in either a Lightning Presentation (a 3-5 minute, image-rich presentation on the first day of the conference) or in the Exhibit Hall (an image-rich exhibit on display throughout the two-day conference). Read more »

FAS Program Helps Provide Qualified Teachers in Malawi

Two teachers currently training at the new Dowa Teachers Training College that opened in Malawi Nov. 30. The college was built with the help of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Food for Progress (FFP) program, and more than 250 qualified primary school teachers will graduate from there annually. The teachers will instruct children in the rural communities throughout Malawi. (Courtesy Photo)

Two teachers currently training at the new Dowa Teachers Training College that opened in Malawi Nov. 30. The college was built with the help of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Food for Progress (FFP) program, and more than 250 qualified primary school teachers will graduate from there annually. The teachers will instruct children in the rural communities throughout Malawi. (Courtesy Photo)

School children in the rural communities of Malawi will soon have access to more qualified primary school educators, thanks in part to the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Food for Progress (FFP) program. Read more »

Why Should Young People Care About The Farm Bill?

As young people that grew up in urban areas, it’s easy to wonder why we, or our peers, should care about the Farm Bill. The truth of the matter is, the Farm Bill affects more than just farmers.

As Congress works to pass a new Farm Bill before the end of the year, it’s crucial to make our voices heard on this important topic.

From the rural youth looking to take over the family farm to the urban gardener looking to grow fresh produce on the rooftop of their apartment building; from aspiring beginning farmers to outdoorsmen; from farmers market lovers to grocery store regulars, the Farm Bill is everywhere. Read more »

Wheat Genome Sequenced in Breakthrough for Global Food Security

Researchers in Njoro, Kenya, evaluating wheat for resistance to Ug99 in October 2005.

Researchers in Njoro, Kenya, evaluating wheat for resistance to Ug99 in October 2005.

The Journal Nature today published a paper reporting that scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), as part of an international team, have completed a shotgun sequencing of the wheat genome. The achievement is expected to increase wheat yields, help feed the world and speed up development of wheat varieties with enhanced nutritional value. Wheat is one of the world’s “big three” crops, along with rice and corn, upon which the world’s growing population depends for nutrition.

Sequencing the genome of wheat was unusually daunting because the wheat genome is five times the size of the human genome, and has 94,000 to 96,000 genes.  This sequencing effort involved the identification of essentially all of those genes and mapping their relationship to other genes.  Previously, the size and complexity of the wheat genome had been significant barriers to performing a complete analysis, but the scientists overcame that problem by developing a new strategy that compared wheat genetic sequences to known grass genes, such as from rice and barley. Read more »