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Bellingham Team Scores Big with Double Winners

With “grate” skill, Bellingham, MA team transforms yams into Tasty Tots as part of Recipes for Healthy Kids competition.

With “grate” skill, Bellingham, MA team transforms yams into Tasty Tots as part of Recipes for Healthy Kids competition.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Students at Bellingham (MA) Public Schools found the key to attracting some top individuals to their school for lunch:  they asked a state senator, state representative, a food industry executive, the state Child Nutrition director and me to judge the school’s entries in the national Recipes for Healthy Kids competition.  The school had much to be proud of because their terrific team created not one, but two semi-finalist recipes:  “Tasty Tots” and “Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.” Read more »

Connecticut Students Say, “Si, Si” to Fiesta Wrap on the Menu

Intent on their work, Charter Oak student chefs carefully assemble their competition entry Fiesta Wrap.

Intent on their work, Charter Oak student chefs carefully assemble their competition entry Fiesta Wrap.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

It’s only natural that when the team from Charter Oak International Academy came up with their entry in the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition it would have true international flavor. The West Hartford, CT school is a magnet school with a global focus, including Spanish language instruction. Their “Fiesta Wrap” stars quinoa and black beans accompanied by vegetables, lime juice, spices and reduced fat cheddar cheese with optional toppings such as fresh tomatoes, corn salsa or fiesta sauce. Read more »

Four Agribusinesses Receive President’s ‘E’ Awards for Excellence in Exporting

In recognition of World Trade Week 2011, 27 companies and organizations were honored for excellence in exporting at the President’s “E” Awards Ceremony.  This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Presidential “E” Award, which was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to recognize persons, firms, or organizations that contribute greatly to increasing U.S. exports. Each award recipient demonstrated four or more years of successive export growth, usually accompanied by a rising percentage of export sales within total sales.

Four agriculture companies were among the awardees this year and were recognized in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The companies represent a cross section of U.S. agribusinesses, hailing from Hawaii, Arizona and Florida. Read more »

A Green Ride to School

A biodiesel blend containing oil from winter canola is pumped into a Paschal Sherman Indian School bus. Pictured left to right: Washington State University extension specialist Phil Linden, Colville Confederated Tribes member Ernie Clark, ARS agronomist Frank Young, ARS technician Larry McGrew, and local grower Ed Townsend. Photo by Carla Des Voigne.

A biodiesel blend containing oil from winter canola is pumped into a Paschal Sherman Indian School bus. Pictured left to right: Washington State University extension specialist Phil Linden, Colville Confederated Tribes member Ernie Clark, ARS agronomist Frank Young, ARS technician Larry McGrew, and local grower Ed Townsend. Photo by Carla Des Voigne.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. Read more »

USDA Iowa Rural Development Employee Serving a Second Assignment in Afghanistan

On January 25, 2011, I arrived in Afghanistan to begin a one-year assignment helping Afghans revitalize thier agricultural sector through a variety of activities aimed to strengthen the capacity of the Afghan government, rebuild agricultural markets, and improve management of natural resources. USDA employees like me have worked in Afghanistan since 2003, helping to stabilize the country as it makes strides to become democratic and economically viable nation.

I also served a six-month assignment in Afghanistan during 2004 – 2005, and was drawn back for a second tour for a variety of reasons: the unique nature of the work; complexity of the civilian, military and Afghan participants; intrigue of working in an ongoing conflict environment; and the overall fascination of working with so many interesting people and situations in an historic initiative. Read more »

Texas High School Students Encouraged to Pursue Careers in Agriculture

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan listens to and answers questions from seniors from Calvert High School Calvert, Texas Jamarion Ramirez, Andre Ross, Telisa Grimes, LaKendra Crowley Ja’Marcus Ashley, Blair Burns and Shameka Grimes.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan listens to and answers questions from seniors from Calvert High School Calvert, Texas Jamarion Ramirez, Andre Ross, Telisa Grimes, LaKendra Crowley Ja’Marcus Ashley, Blair Burns and Shameka Grimes.

It wasn’t supposed to happen.

There wasn’t supposed to be an agriculture curriculum. There wasn’t supposed to be an instructor. And there definitely wasn’t any money to send seven African-American students from one of the smallest and lowest income towns in Texas to Washington, D.C., to speak with high-level USDA officials. Read more »