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Slice of Albuquerque Will be Turned into the Children’s Bosque: More Kids in the Woods Projects and Children’s Forests Nationwide Receive $1 Million Funding

Urban children in Albuquerque, N.M., will soon be able to descend on 20 acres of forestland along the Rio Grande River, where they will have the freedom to climb onto an elevated fort, hike on a trail through the cottonwood forest to learn about the different plants and animals and do what all children are supposed to do: play outside.

Children looking through microscopes in a forest.

Children looking through microscopes in a forest.

Children’s Bosque – Spanish for forest – is one of eight Children’s Forests and 23 More Kids in the Woods projects in 18 states awarded a total of $1 million in cost-share grants from the U.S. Forest Service. Each of the winning projects has the backing of partners and local communities, and winning proposals either expand current projects or create new ones. Read more »

Like a Kid in a Candy Store, Lincoln Bramwell Loves History and the Forest Service

Originally, the young Lincoln Bramwell wanted to be a garbage man, what we call a sanitation engineer today.

Lincoln Bramwell of the U.S. Forest Service.

Lincoln Bramwell of the U.S. Forest Service.

“They swing on the back of trucks, find cool stuff occasionally.  I thought that was the coolest job ever,” he said. Bramwell explained that it changed later once “I had to take the trash out as a kid.” Read more »

USDA Official Reads The Lorax to Assembly of Children, Encourages Them to Take Care of Forests

Imagine being a kid and having a senior government official come to your school to share the joy of reading and storytelling. Then imagine the excitement when an actual Dr. Seuss character enters the room!

Arthur “Butch” Blazer and the Lorax.

Arthur “Butch” Blazer and the Lorax.

That’s what happened when Arthur “Butch” Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, recently spoke to more than 300 students at James K. Polk Elementary School in Alexandria, Va. about the importance of trees and forests. Read more »

USDA Encourages Farmers, Developers and Business Leaders to Learn How Anaerobic Digesters Can Reduce Pollution, Cut Energy Costs and Diversify Income

In 2009, during climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a historic “Memorandum of Understanding” with dairy producers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farms by capturing methane with enhanced manure management practices and turning it into electricity.

While much has been done to encourage deployment of anaerobic digester technology in the United States, more needs to be accomplished, and with that in mind, USDA will join with the Farm Foundation, NFP, the AgStar Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, and the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative of the University of Wisconsin to hold webinars from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus later this month. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Opportunity for Farmers and Ranchers

Two and a half years ago, I announced a new initiative here at USDA called Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.

It’s the public face of our commitment to help farmers and ranchers of all sizes take advantage of new opportunities, meet the growing demand for local and regional food and succeed in America’s diverse marketplace.

Last week, USDA unveiled new tools showcasing what we’ve accomplished over the last few years as local food sales have expanded as a multi-billion dollar industry. Read more »

Interested in Local and Regional Food Systems? Jump into the Twitter Conversation Using #KYF2!

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan received a question via twitter message while in the USDA TV studio, during the unveiling of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) Compass, an interactive web-based document and map highlighting USDA support for local and regional food projects and successful producer, business and community case studies. While hosting a live webinar to highlight USDA's work over the past three years, the Secretaries emphasized how local and regional food systems across the country create additional economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs, expand healthy food access and meet growing customer demand. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, February 29, 2012. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan received a question via twitter message while in the USDA TV studio, during the unveiling of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) Compass, an interactive web-based document and map highlighting USDA support for local and regional food projects and successful producer, business and community case studies. While hosting a live webinar to highlight USDA's work over the past three years, the Secretaries emphasized how local and regional food systems across the country create additional economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs, expand healthy food access and meet growing customer demand. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, February 29, 2012. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Earlier this week we launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, a digital narrative with stories, pictures and video about USDA’s support for local and regional food systems, and interactive map with datasets displaying the various ways and places where the initiative has made an impact. Read more »