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USDA Chooses National Moving Month to Launch Campaign to Stop the Spread of Gypsy Moth

As National Moving Month, May marks the height of the moving season.  It also marks a time of great peril for America’s forests.  Gypsy moths normally get their best chance to spread across the country in May as they hitchhike with people moving or traveling from an infested area to a noninfested area.  This year should be different, however, thanks to an outreach campaign called “Your Move Gypsy Moth-Free” that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently launched.

The stakes are high: Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate, weaken, and kill more than 300 different types of trees and shrubs.  Since 1970, this dangerous forest pest has defoliated 75 million acres in the United States.  If left unchecked, an infestation can defoliate up to 13 million acres of trees in one season.  New infestations are typically caused by gypsy moth egg masses that people transport accidentally when moving or traveling from an infested area to a noninfested area.  That’s why APHIS requires these individuals to inspect for and remove gypsy moth egg masses from outdoor household items—before they move. Read more »

Forest Service Trains Nebraska Guard Members for Afghanistan Deployment

Foresters from the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Nebraska Forest Service helped prepare the Nebraska Air and Army Guard’s Agriculture Development Team (ADT) for an 11-month deployment to Afghanistan.

The ADT will deploy to Afghanistan from July 2011 to May 2012 and work with local government, university and non-governmental organization personnel to improve agriculture and forestry in the war-torn country. Read more »

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Last week, Secretary Vilsack joined St. Louis Rams quarterback and Cherokee nation member Sam Bradford in the USDA People’s Garden to talk about the importance of healthy lifestyles to improve the health of our nation’s kids. Secretary Vilsack and Sam Bradford were accompanied by the Executive Director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, Robin Schepper, Keith Moore, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education Director, and Janie Hipp, Senior Advisory to Secretary Vilsack with the USDA Office of Tribal Relations. The event underscored the value of programs like Fuel Up to Play 60, Let’s Move! Outside, and the People’s Garden to provide opportunities for parents, teachers and child care givers to get kids up and moving during the summer months. Read more »

First BCAP Project Area Aims to Reduce American Dependence on Foreign Oil

In an announcement released this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack established the first Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) Project Area to promote the next generation of biofuels.

The announcement comes as Americans are pinching pennies due to gas prices climbing to over $4 a gallon. “Reducing our dependence on foreign oil and getting a handle on out of control gas prices will require investments in projects like we are announcing today,” said Vilsack. Read more »

On a Rooftop in the City, Grows Hope

Rooftop vegetable garden is ready for planting at Bread for the City in Northwest Washington, DC, on Friday, April 29, 2011.

Rooftop vegetable garden is ready for planting at Bread for the City in Northwest Washington, DC, on Friday, April 29, 2011.

Last week, Secretary Vilsack stopped by Bread for the City and joined National and Community Service CEO Patrick Corvington and Bread for the City President George Jones to underscore the administration’s commitments to ending hunger in America. Read more »

Champions of Change: Moving Chefs to School in New Haven, Connecticut

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to join 5 chefs from across the country, all of us being recognized as a Champion of Change. Working together as a team the six of us joined in a discussion with Under Secretary Kevin Concannon and Chef Sam Kass to discuss opportunities and challenges of the Chefs Move to Schools, a program of the Let’s Move! initiative.

The true spirit of Chefs Move to Schools (CMTS) is to engage children in their classroom through food. The program has morphed into a fun and educational program benefitting both school children and school nutrition professionals. One practice that is becoming popular is to have the program benefit both these groups; first by getting kids excited by a chef demo then having the chef step into the school kitchen, not to comment about the food, rather to work hands on with the kitchen staff to help re-educate them on basic kitchen skills. This quick educational lesson is often welcomed by the staff who see it as an opportunity to network with a local chef. Engaging organizations is important to seeing through with the success of CMTS. The American Culinary Federation, School Nutrition Association and Share Our Strength are the top three organizations involved to see through with the success of CMTS. Read more »