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 »
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 »
South Dakota Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks addressed a crowd of nearly 500 attendees at the 37th Annual National American Indian Council Convention & Trade Show in Phoenix, Arizona last week. This year’s theme was “Connect to the Past, Commit to the Future.”
Meeks, an Oglala Sioux Tribal Member, highlighted Rural Development’s programs and provided stats on the opportunities provided to American Indian/Alaska Native families on a national scale since the year 2000. She noted that the Single Family Housing Direct Program has helped over 2,600 Native families become homeowners during that time and that the USDA Guaranteed program has helped an additional 3,700 families achieve their homeownership dreams. In addition the USDA Home Repair program has funded home repairs for over 3,000 Native families. Read more »
On May 27, Vaibhavi Patankar of Woodland Hills, Calif., was named the top winner in the 2011 Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest.
What better way to celebrate wildfire prevention education than saluting a 9-year-old girl and an organization that has roots dating back to 1891. Read more »
Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog.
Dr. Seuss wrote about green eggs and ham but McDougle Elementary School didn’t stick to the script. The Chapel Hill, North Carolina school stirred its way into the semi-finals of the Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge by adding added nutritious brown rice. They also used chopped spinach to give the dish a vibrant green color.
Stir Fried green rice, eggs and ham
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The devastation in Joplin is unbelievable, heartbreaking and hard to describe. I have never seen anything like it and hope to never again. The twister tore a path a mile wide and six miles long through the main part of town. It impacted hundreds of businesses and destroyed over 2,000 homes. More than 120 people lost their lives and over 800 people were injured. Scores remain missing or unaccounted for. Read more »