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Focus on Hunger Among Latinos: President Obama and USDA’s Lisa Pino Visit National Council of La Raza

In the U.S., Hispanic households experience hunger at rates that are higher than the national average. According to USDA research, one out of every four Hispanic households in the U.S. is food insecure, compared with a national average of 15 percent. Hispanics also participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly the Food Stamp Program) at rates that are lower than the national average.

To call attention to this need to better reach the Latino population with access to nutrition assistance programs, USDA leadership participated in the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) annual conference in Washington DC from July 23-25. President Obama also gave a keynote speech at the conference, which had about 2,000 attendees. Read more »

The Farmer’s Perspective: How Farmers Markets Help Producers

Microgreens grown by John Biscoe.  Farmers markets are the missing link between John and the people who eat the food he grows.

Microgreens grown by John Biscoe. Farmers markets are the missing link between John and the people who eat the food he grows.

During National Farmers Market Week, we celebrate farmers markets across the country, their popularity and their growth.  But there wouldn’t be any farmers markets without farmers. Just as farmers markets help consumers know their farmer and know their food, they also help producers know their customers and know their business.  I’d like to share with you one Virginia farmer’s account of how a farmers market helped him: Read more »

First South Dakota MarketPlace Draws Over 200 Attendees to Talk About Business and Job Development

The first South Dakota ‘MarketPlace: Opening Doors to Success’ business conference, held in Huron, South Dakota,  late last month drew over 200 participants from across the state for two days of networking and business training. The event focused on energizing small businesses and rural communities.

The conference featured strong, hands-on learning opportunities for potential and existing business owners including on and off farm/ranch, store front or home based, women and Native American owned businesses; community leaders; and youth interested in entrepreneurship. A large group of exhibitors served as resources for participants, enabling them to learn about business solutions products, website design, financing and other business services. Read more »

National Farmers Market Week

Happy National Farmers Market Week!

This year, August 7 through 13 is Farmers Market week.  Thousands of farmers markets across the country offer consumers affordable, convenient, and healthful products sold directly from the farm in their freshest possible state, increasing consumer access to fresh fruits and vegetables and thus promoting child health and potentially reducing childhood obesity.  Farmers markets also play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support the sustainability of family farms, revitalize communities, and provide opportunities for farmers and consumers to interact. Read more »

Tribes Lead Cultural Preservation Threatened by Invasive Species

Kelly Church, Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa; Richard Silliboy, Aroostook Band of Micmacs; and Butch Jacobs, Passamaquoddy, evaluate the quality, strength and condition of green ash splints pounded from experimental black ash logs.

Kelly Church, Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa; Richard Silliboy, Aroostook Band of Micmacs; and Butch Jacobs, Passamaquoddy, evaluate the quality, strength and condition of green ash splints pounded from experimental black ash logs.

The emerald ash borer beetle (EAB) is responsible for the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees across 15 States.  It has had a devastating effect wherever ash trees grow.  Whether the ash is used by industry; shading homes and urban streets, or an integral part of our forest ecosystem, its decline due to EAB is being felt by everyone.  Perhaps one of the hardest hit by this pest are Native American tribes of the Northeastern United States for whom brown ash is rooted deep in their culture, providing spiritual and economic support to their communities. Read more »

7,175 Ways to Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food: Visit a Farmers Market

Fresh mushrooms and peppers sold at the Ypsilanti Depot Town Market in Michigan.  Michigan ranks among the top ten states for growth and for number of farmers markets this year.

Fresh mushrooms and peppers sold at the Ypsilanti Depot Town Market in Michigan. Michigan ranks among the top ten states for growth and for number of farmers markets this year. (Image courtesy of realtimefarms.com)

As the weekend approaches, there are things we all look forward to – sleeping in late, spending time with family, splashing in the neighborhood pool, and picnics with friends.  For me, I look forward to visiting my local farmers market.  It is a time for me and my urban-raised children to connect with local farmers and thank them for their hard work in providing the food we eat every day.  In the DC metro region, it’s the height of tomato season here.  I find strange and luscious heirloom tomato varieties in the farmers market that I never see in my grocery store.  Always trying to expand my children’s palate, the farmers market provides a great place to taste fresh foods.  The farmers cheer as my children try new fruits and vegetables.  The infectious excitement and fun at the market facilitates my efforts to get my kids to gobble up healthy food. Read more »