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A Fresh Start in New Jersey in a Home Away from Home

 

Mihai, Mihaiela, and Sabina Giurca in front of their new USDA-financed home in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Mihai, Mihaiela, and Sabina Giurca in front of their new USDA-financed home in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

A few years ago, Mihai & Mihaiela Giurca reluctantly left both their native land of Romania to start fresh in New Jersey.  In 2007 they became permanent residents and moved to a one bedroom apartment in Atlantic City.  Both worked diligently to learn the language and obtain steady employment in the casino industry. Read more »

Master Gardener increases Access to Fruits and Vegetables for Let’s Move!

Gardener from Harrisburg, PA, in the midst of his backyard home vegetable garden preparing produce donations for his local food bank. (Provided by an AmpleHarvest.org partner in Harrisburg, PA)

Gardener from Harrisburg, PA, in the midst of his backyard home vegetable garden preparing produce donations for his local food bank. (Provided by an AmpleHarvest.org partner in Harrisburg, PA)

Nearly 17 million (14.6%) children in the United States live in households that are food insecure, meaning that at some point during the year, they do not get enough nutritious food to eat at home. Many Americans, especially those in rural, minority, and lower-income neighborhoods, have poor access to healthy, affordable foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Through Let’s Move Faith and Communities, First Lady Michelle Obama has challenged community leaders to create 10,000 places—like gardens, farmers markets, and community supported agriculture sites—where communities can access fresh produce locally. Read more »

Rural Development Program Provides Quality Housing for Central Oregon’s Farm Workers

While on a recent visit to Oregon, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Victor Vasquez visited the Canyon East farm worker housing complex currently under construction in Madras. The USDA-supported facility is scheduled for completion in August, with families moving in shortly thereafter. Vasquez was joined by Oregon Rural Development State Director  Vicki Walker.

The community of Madras in Central Oregon is surrounded by numerous farming and ranching operations that provide fresh foods and products for regional markets. Many of these operations, including irrigated seed crops, potatoes and mint as well as the numerous hay and livestock operations, can be labor intensive, and rely on an infusion of farm workers. Yet, housing options in the Madras area have been limited for farm workers and their families, despite the integral and valued role they play in local agriculture as well as the overall community. Read more »

AMS: Feeding America’s Heroes

A U.S. Marine from Marine Wing Support Squadron 471 assigned to the task force?s 9th Provisional Security Force eats lunch during a break from .50-caliber machine gun marksmanship training near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Dec. 31, 2008. Marines with the squadron are on a seven-month deployment to Camp Lemonier providing security and force protection. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released)

A U.S. Marine from Marine Wing Support Squadron 471 assigned to the task force's 9th Provisional Security Force eats lunch during a break from .50-caliber machine gun marksmanship training near Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Dec. 31, 2008. Marines with the squadron are on a seven-month deployment to Camp Lemonier providing security and force protection. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released)

It is a little known fact that USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) inspects the Meals, Ready-to-Eat, or MREs, that provide nourishment to our soldiers serving overseas in the U.S. Armed Forces. Throughout their tours of duty, MREs serve as both daily nourishment and holiday meal for thousands of U.S. service men and women. Read more »

Conference Covers Past, Present, and Future of International Food Aid and Development Assistance

The USDA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have once again joined forces to collaborate with individuals and organizations that feed hungry people, promote sustainable development and provide technical assistance around the world.  This is the thirteenth year of the International Food Aid and Development Conference, and I was proud to deliver keynote remarks here in Kansas City, Mo. Nearly 600 people from more than 25 countries discussed what has worked, what has not, and what we can do in the future to improve our food assistance and program delivery.

The U.S. government’s international food assistance programs will benefit 5.2 million people in the developing world this year. The challenges of global food security are enormous — nearly one billion people are malnourished, and this number will likely grow as the world population continues to rise. Meanwhile, the United States, like many other nations, is facing serious budget pressures. In addition, commodity prices and demand continue to rise, squeezing food assistance dollars further. Read more »

A North Dakota Family Buys a Home with Help from USDA

Valley City area office staff helped Cody Thibert and his daughter plant an apple tree they presented them in honor of Homeownership Month.  The Thibert’s newly finished deck can be seen in the background.

Valley City area office staff helped Cody Thibert and his daughter plant an apple tree they presented them in honor of Homeownership Month. The Thibert’s newly finished deck can be seen in the background.

Starting a new career, Cody Thibert moved his wife and their three children to a new community.   Searching for a home in Valley City, North Dakota, Cody heard about USDA Rural Development through his father’s co-worker.  He decided to inquire about the housing programs and found a fit with the USDA Single Family Home Loan program.  The Thiberts were able to purchase a four bedroom, bi-level home with a low interest rate and an extended term loan. Read more »