Bacteria exist everywhere in our environment, and some of them can make us really sick. Illness-causing bacteria exist in or on food, on countertops, kitchen utensils, hands, pets, and in the dirt where food grows. As part of the Food Safe Families campaign, this week’s Check Your Steps blog focuses on cleaning before, during, and after preparing and eating food to keep your family safer from food poisoning. Read more »
With assistance from USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and working with Food Export-Midwest, a Milwaukee-based company has expanded its access to the Asian market for its brand of specialty cookies. Nikki’s Cookies & Confections has been baking a full line of shortbreads, chocolate layered cookies and holiday specialty products for 25 years. The company’s export success was recently recognized in the National Export Strategy Report, an annual update on the National Export Initiative progress. Under this initiative President Obama set a goal of doubling overall U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Read more »
Just ask eighty-six year old Rita Fincher in Park Hills, Missouri and she will tell you it is never too late to start a new beginning.
After raising ten children in a mobile home, her current dwelling was literally falling in around her when her children and grand children came to the rescue. One of the grandsons was in the real estate business and learned of a vacant home that had been foreclosed and owned by a local bank. With the help of the USDA Rural Development direct home loan program she applied through the Farmington, Missouri office and was determined eligible. The house was structurally sound but needed lots of tender loving care. With some financial help from the local bank and USDA Rural Development, her family, church friends, and neighbors made the needed repairs and improvements. Read more »
U.S. Historical Marker for Methodist church in Swan Quarter.
Back in 1876, the Methodists of the coastal community of Swan Quarter, NC were keenly aware of flooding issues from heavy rain and high tides. As a result, they sought property less prone to flooding for a new church. But their efforts to purchase a specific vacant lot on high ground were unsuccessful, so the church was built near the heart of the town on a lower lot. Read more »
Jill Bell and daughter Anna helping with the summer harvest for CSA shares.
Development can often benefit communities at the expense of agriculture; many of Utah’s farms are quickly being replaced by expanding residential, commercial and industrial development. Now many farmers and consumers have joined forces to increase the sustainability of agriculture in Utah with community supported agriculture, especially along the Wasatch Front. Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a way for consumers to directly invest in local farms and receive a regular delivery of fresh fruits, vegetables and other local products. Read more »
In September of 2009, the Department of Agriculture launched the ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ initiative. The initiative has been applauded by farmers and ranchers across the country as a key resource in helping to break down barriers to agriculture and economic development. Every day we get questions from farmers, ranchers, consumers and communities wanting to know how ‘Know Your Farmer’ applies to them. So we sat down with Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan to help answer some of those questions: Read more »