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Land O’Lakes Providing Food Aid, Ensuring Food Security In Zambia

It was quite an active week as I represented the USDA at the 10th annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum.  While in Zambia, I had the opportunity to see firsthand a USDA-funded food assistance program in action.  This included a Local and Regional Procurement (LRP) Pilot Project that is providing monthly food baskets to households impacted by HIV/AIDS.  LRP is designed to use local and regional purchasing to help meet urgent food needs in developing countries and in areas faced with food crises and disasters.

The Zambia Local and Regional Procurement Program (ZLRP) is a yearlong project providing nutritional food to nearly 10,000 rural households that care for orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia’s Chongwe, Chibombo and Mumbwa districts. Land O’Lakes is working with World Vision to implement the project with USDA funding. The food these households receive allows them to leave their crops in the ground until they are fully ready to harvest, and thus are more nutritious.  This in turn enables the families more time and energy to pursue other activities to improve their livelihoods and quality of life. Read more »

Let’s Move! to Feed Hungry Kids this Summer

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a Let’s Move! Faith and Communities conference call in the First Lady’s Office at the White House, Nov. 29, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a Let’s Move! Faith and Communities conference call in the First Lady’s Office at the White House, Nov. 29, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Most kids get excited about summer vacation. But for those who depend on school lunch and breakfast for their main meals of the day, they’re not as excited about summer. Unfortunately, hunger doesn’t take a vacation. Without cafeterias as the natural gathering point, congregations and community organizations are where kids can gather and get a meal this summer. Read more »

Ninety Year Old Volunteers Make an Environmental Impact in North Dakota

Earth Team Volunteers  Lyla Schulz and Jean Herauf (L to R) prepare a conservation mailing to famers in the Dickinson, N.D., NRCS office.

Earth Team Volunteers Lyla Schulz and Jean Herauf (L to R) prepare a conservation mailing to famers in the Dickinson, N.D., NRCS office.

Two women have been helping make an environmental impact in Stark County, North Dakota for nearly two decades. Lyla Schulz, 91, and Jean Herauf, 90, have each volunteered over 1,000 hours doing routine office work to allow conservationists with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to spend more time working directly with farmers and ranchers. Read more »

During Homeownership Month, Nevada Celebration Brings Home Message of Community, Security, and Jobs

On a chilly, gray morning, under the shadow of the still challenging Nevada economy, more than 70 people gathered in the beautiful Nevada State Capitol building to share with each other why it remains so important to keep the dream of homeownership alive. In the majestic and historic Old Assembly Chambers, homeowners, realtors, and lenders active in USDA Rural Development Direct and Guaranteed Home loan programs participated in a two part event, as Nevada Rural Development State Director Sarah Adler put it: “recognition and revenue.”

Jeff Bishop, a homeowner from Washoe County, won the heart of the crowd with his simple eloquence. Jeff is a high school janitor, a musician, a family man. His wife Brooke and their two daughters, Emma and Rose, stood proudly by him, grinning, showing off their hand-drawn poster of their new home. Read more »

Recovery Act Funds Urban Forestry Success in Historic African American Neighborhood

Volunteers have planted 185 trees in the historic Berkley Square neighborhood in Las Vegas as part of a U.S. Forest Service Recovery Act-funded Nevada forest revitalization project. The Berkley Square Tree Planting Project was one of the largest volunteer supported activities ever held in Berkley Square which is part of Las Vegas’ Ward 5.

Berkley Square represented an important step in civil rights for African-Americans in Las Vegas. The Historic Berkley Square Neighborhood is the first subdivision to be built in Nevada by and for African-American residents of Las Vegas. It was designed in 1949 by Paul R. Williams, an internationally-known African-American architect who also designed the La Concha Motel, as well as movie-star homes and public buildings in Los Angeles. Read more »

Rural America: Building Upon a Record of Success

Cross posted from the White House blog:

This morning, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Rural Council, the first entity of its kind established to focus on policy initiatives for Rural Americans.  The President’s signature on this document represents a truly historic moment for the nation.  I am honored to serve as the Chair of the Council and work directly with my Cabinet colleagues from across the federal government to improve the economic conditions and quality of life for millions of Rural Americans.

President Obama has already established an impressive record in rural areas, which the Rural Council will build on.  The Administration’s record includes substantial investments in rural America to modernize our Nation’s infrastructure, provide broadband access to 10 million Americans, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, and provide affordable health care.  Nevertheless, the President believes that even more needs to be done in order to fully capitalize on the emerging opportunities in Rural America.  Despite recent advances, rural communities continue to struggle to maintain the population and businesses needed for sustained economic growth. Read more »