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Thanks to USDA Feds for Feeding Families this Summer

This summer, USDA employees nationwide joined together to raise 1,791,393 pounds of food during the 2011 Feds Feed Families food drive. Thank you to all USDA employees and their partnering communities. Your extra efforts and generosity made the 3rd annual food drive a remarkable success.

This summer, USDA employees nationwide joined together to raise 1,791,393 pounds of food during the 2011 Feds Feed Families food drive. Thank you to all USDA employees and their partnering communities. Your extra efforts and generosity made the 3rd annual food drive a remarkable success.

As summer has faded into fall, this is another season when many Americans are struggling to make ends meet.  USDA programs already make a big difference in the lives of many Americans: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps over 45 million Americans put nutritious food on the table.  This summer, USDA employees went even further and helped fill the shelves of food banks and pantries around the country through the 3rd Annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive. With generosity in their hearts and the mission of fighting hunger, USDA employees joined together nationwide and raised an impressive 1,791,393 pounds of food for donation!  That number breaks down further to a donation of about 15 pounds per employee.  Thank you to all USDA employees and partners who contributed to this remarkable donation. Your efforts reinforce the Department’s efforts to help people every day, every way. Read more »

Farm Credit: Celebrating Co-op Month and 95 Years of Service

Editor’s Note: To help celebrate Cooperative Month in October, USDA will be running blogs about the nation’s co-op sector, starting with a look at the nation’s producer-owned financial institution: Farm Credit. This blog is based on comments from Joy Upchurch, Vice President  at AgFirst Farm Credit Bank.

Since 1916, Farm Credit has been a trusted partner to agricultural producers and agribusinesses across rural America. As a nationwide network of cooperatively owned banks and retail lending associations, it is fitting that we help acknowledge October as Cooperative Month. This celebration coincides with a historic milestone for Farm Credit. As we celebrate the cooperative nature of our member organizations, we are also in the midst of celebrating Farm Credit’s 95th anniversary of service to rural America. Read more »

Possible New Flavor Sensations from the Jungles of Peru

ARS scientist Gary Samuels extracts a sample of living plant tissue from a wild cacao tree on the bank of Rio Marañón en Peru. (Photo courtesy of ARS)

ARS scientist Gary Samuels extracts a sample of living plant tissue from a wild cacao tree on the bank of Rio Marañón en Peru. (Photo courtesy of ARS)

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.

What a long, strange trip it’s been for newly discovered South American varieties of cacao beans—all the way from the remote Amazon Basin in Peru to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) labs in Beltsville, Md., where the beans are being studied as a possible source of future high-end chocolates that could one day be marketed, like fine wines, by geographical provenance. Read more »

National School Lunch Week: A Time to Celebrate

Under Secretary Kevin Concannon takes a photo of his lunch mates last month at Arcola Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md.  Concannon presented all 132 Montgomery County Elementary Schools with Healthier US Schools Challenge Bronze awards.

Under Secretary Kevin Concannon takes a photo of his lunch mates last month at Arcola Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md. Concannon presented all 132 Montgomery County Elementary Schools with Healthier US Schools Challenge Bronze awards.

Every child deserves to have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. That’s reason enough to recognize the nutritional accomplishments of our school meals programs during National School Lunch Week, Oct. 10-14. But there is more to celebrate… Read more »

US Forest Service partners with Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month Initiative

National forests provide about 60 percent of all ski areas in the United States.

National forests provide about 60 percent of all ski areas in the United States.

The U.S. Forest Service is partnering with the Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) initiative, scheduled for January 2012, encouraging Americans to explore winter recreation activities during the upcoming winter season. Read more »

Forest Service Highlights Accessible Trails in Kicking off National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month in October

October has arrived which means cooler days, fall foliage and continued opportunities to hike on Forest Service trails. Families and friends enjoy hiking together, whether a person uses a wheelchair,  is pushing a young child in a baby stroller, or they are looking for more controlled grades to enjoy together on  trails that comply with the Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines.  People with and without disabilities enjoy recreating together. When one person in a group has a need for an accessible facility, the entire group seeks to recreate at that accessible facility together.

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Read more »