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Perfecting the ‘Perfect’ Food

The USDA-supported Bean Coordinated Agricultural Project (BeanCAP) is working to help bean plant breeders develop new varieties that are better at adapting to changes in climate.

The USDA-supported Bean Coordinated Agricultural Project (BeanCAP) is working to help bean plant breeders develop new varieties that are better at adapting to changes in climate.

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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

How does one improve upon perfection?  By definition, that’s an impossible task, but a team of scientists is working to help breeders of the “near-perfect” food so they can improve production around the world. Read more »

It Takes a Community to Prepare the Capitol Christmas Tree

When the 65-foot Californian white fir from the Stanislaus National Forest arrives at the Capitol at the start of the holiday season, it will arrive with several thousand of its friends from California.

The Californian friends will be ornaments, as many as 5,000, that will decorate the Capitol Christmas Tree. Each ornament, which will stand 9 to 12 inches tall and be built strongly enough to endure Washington D.C.’s winter, will be handmade by residents of the Golden State. Read more »

New Report: Local Foods are Working for the Nation

Christy (left) and Lilah Talbott of Richmond, VA came to the Fall Line Farms pick-up point at Bon Air United Methodist Church on Thursday, May 5, 2011. This is one of several pick-up points in the Richmond, VA area. This local food hub offers a wide variety of household food staples and specialty items.  The difference from traditional co-ops is that members can pick their customized orders from an ever changing inventory of fruits, vegetables, meats, soaps, eggs, cheeses, flowers, honey, pastas, sauces, syrups, baked goods, mushrooms, flour and grains. Suppliers post what they have on a Lulus Local Food online listing and customers can make their selection Every Thursday suppliers deliver orders to, one of several pick-up points, designated by the customers in or around the Richmond area. USDA Photos by Lance Cheung.

Christy (left) and Lilah Talbott of Richmond, VA came to the Fall Line Farms pick-up point at Bon Air United Methodist Church on Thursday, May 5, 2011. USDA Photos by Lance Cheung.

The market for local food – food that is produced, processed, distributed and sold within a specific region, say a radius of several hundred miles – is growing. Large, small and midsized farms are all tapping into it. Even better, new data suggest that these producers are employing more workers than they would be if they weren’t selling into local and regional markets. Read more »

Forest Service Northeastern Area Funding Supports Chesapeake Bay Restoration Projects

The Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently announced this year’s recipients of the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants. This year, the program will provide about $3 million in funding, with the Forest Service contributing $300,000. Read more »

People’s Gardens Give Back Over One Million Pounds

Chuck Hanagan has worked for USDA-Farm Service Agency for 25 years and operates a family farm in Swink, Colorado. Having an abundance of fresh vegetables has given his office the opportunity to participate in gleaning efforts for the Department’s ‘Share Your Harvest’ campaign. 4,000 lbs was donated by Hanagan Farms. The pumpkins pictured are in bins awaiting shipment.  Many of them ended up with the families of deployed troops on the Army base at Fort Carson.

Chuck Hanagan has worked for USDA-Farm Service Agency for 25 years and operates a family farm in Swink, Colorado. Having an abundance of fresh vegetables has given his office the opportunity to participate in gleaning efforts for the Department’s ‘Share Your Harvest’ campaign. 4,000 lbs was donated by Hanagan Farms. The pumpkins pictured are in bins awaiting shipment. Many of them ended up with the families of deployed troops on the Army base at Fort Carson.

As the harvest season comes to a close, the People’s Garden has a lot to be thankful for this year. Last week, the Initiative’s ‘Share Your Harvest’ effort passed the one million pound mark of fresh produce donated to local food banks and charities across the country. Read more »

Meet Face of Food Safety Nisha Antoine: Lieutenant, Biologist, Volunteer, and Mother

Lt. Nisha Antoine, in her U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps uniform, works at her desk in one of the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s headquarters offices.

Lt. Nisha Antoine, in her U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps uniform, works at her desk in one of the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s headquarters offices.

Nisha Antoine has always understood the relationship between personal health and public health. As a child with asthma, she spent a lot of time in the emergency room, and she was inspired by her doctors and nurses to want to take care of other children as an adult. From elementary school through college, Nisha enjoyed studying biology, a path she knew would eventually lead to a career of caring for others. Read more »