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Hunger-Free Communities Grantee Succeeds With Community-Run Marketplace

In February, 2011, Centro del Obrero Fronterizo was awarded one of 14 FY 2010 Hunger-Free Communities Grants.  Grantee projects started on March 15, 2011, and even after only two short months our grantees are noting encouraging results.  Centro del Obrero Fronterizo provided this background and update in a recent report:

“The Chamizal Neighborhood in El Paso, Texas, is one of the most impoverished in the nation, according to the Federal Reserve Bank. Dozens of empty warehouses dot the landscape, a testament to the decline of a garment industry that once flourished here, employing thousands of Mexican immigrant women. When the industry left the area in search of cheaper labor, thousands of women were left unemployed.  In 1981, displaced female garment workers established La Mujer Obrera in hopes of broadening economic and educational opportunities by creating jobs based on community needs. Read more »

MyPlate goes Red, White, and Blue

Fireworks, parades, music, family and friends, and summer weather make up the ambiance of the 4th of July. Food is also at the forefront of the All-American celebration. Classic picnic favorites, such as juicy hamburgers, grilled chicken, delicious coleslaws and potato salads, and fresh fruit desserts, are often found at 4th of July parties. Are you getting hungry yet? With the help of the USDA’s new MyPlate icon and coordinating messages, you can make your 4th of July plate a healthy plate.

Making your plate half fruits and vegetables is easy with the abundant amount of fruits and vegetables available during the summer. If you’re hosting a cookout, you can try grilling broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, onions, or corn on the cob. Add sliced watermelon or a fruit salad with cantaloupe, strawberries and blackberries to the menu for a refreshing snack. With some smart shopping it’s possible to fit fruits and vegetables into any budget. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: On Independence Day, Celebrate American Values

This 4th of July is a good time to celebrate the values and ideals that make this nation great.

Americans enjoy incredible freedoms and limitless opportunity.  We can say what we like, and worship how we believe.  This nation gives us the freedom and support we need to seek a good education, work hard, retire comfortably and achieve the American dream.

And even when the rhetoric from partisan politicians can seem angry or over-the-top, we have a system of government that holds honest elections and respects the will of voters. Read more »

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 »