Written by Rayne Pegg, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service
We are proudly in the middle of the eleventh annual National Farmers Market Week as declared by USDA. This year, Secretary Vilsack marked this important milestone with an official Declaration acknowledging the role farmers markets play in stimulating local economies, strengthening communities and supporting farmers.
As part of National Farmers Market Week, we’re also announcing the results of our latest farmers market survey, and the numbers are impressive: 6,100 farmers markets are now operating across the country – a stunning 16% growth from last year! These markets are bringing folks together in cities, towns, suburbs and rural areas of every state in the nation, and they have on offer the freshest produce, meats, cheese, flowers, breads, and other products from their surrounding farms and ranches.
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Written by Peter Rhee, Office of Communications, USDA
USDA has just launched a newly revamped and refreshed Blog, bringing key enhancements to our previous offering. You will notice a new look and feel, enhanced search capabilities, easier navigation, categorization, and faster access to previous blog posts.
For over a year, USDA has been sharing stories and information on a wide array of topics, from Economic Job Forums and nutrition efforts, to beehives and gardens at USDA facilities. Through an unprecedented collaborative effort behind the scenes at USDA, we’ve been working hard to post blogs about our projects and initiatives, from Agency offices worldwide, and messages from the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. Our goal has always been to feature interesting articles in a more conversational and accessible way that allows for public discussion.
We’re really excited about our new Blog and hope that you’ll consider adding it to your daily feed and regular blog reading.
Take a look around and let us know what you think!
Bonnie Allely, NRCS Earth Team national volunteer liaison, and Jim Gulliford, SWCS executive director, collected more than 250 pounds of food from SWCS conference attendees to fight hunger in St. Louis through the Feds, Farmers and Friends Feed Families food drive. Photo courtesy of SWCS.
By Dick Tremain, NRCS Iowa
There’s a little less hunger in St. Louis this summer, thanks to convention-going soil conservationists and scientists. When members of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) preparing for their annual international conference heard about the national Feds, Farmers and Friends Feed Families (F5) food drive, they decided to help by bringing food to the St. Louis convention, where it was collected and weighed. Read more »
Written by Audrey Rowe, USDA Deputy Administrator of Special Nutrition Programs
I recently had the honor of speaking at the National Urban League Centennial Conference in Washington DC. The National Urban League is a partner in our efforts to combat obesity and hunger, particularly in African American communities. I was happy to have the opportunity to explain the role USDA’s nutrition assistance programs play in combating obesity and hunger and to emphasize the need for us to work collaboratively to solve these issues. Read more »
Back in 1947, nearly one-third of the labor force worked on farms. In those days if you didn’t have a relative who worked on a farm, you knew someone who did. As time and technology progressed and jobs moved from farms to factories, generations began to lose their connection to agriculture and the land as the source of their food. Currently, there is too much distance between consumers and those who produce their food.
But, there is also hope for those of us working to rebuild this critical connection. Last Friday I presented a $175,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) to provide critical access to credit to a group of small family farmers who are building a bridge to consumers and stimulating the local economy through local foods. This project is a great example of how USDA Rural Development programs can advance the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. Read more »
By Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan
On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to meet with some inspiring African businesswomen who are visiting the United States for the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. This unique group of 36 successful women is here to participate in a two week fellowship training program that will introduce them to American trading partners and investors, expose them to American advocacy, and business models and will offer extended support to them when they return to their countries. Read more »