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The Cow Jumped into the Weeds and the Farmer Ran Away with the Profit

Dairy goats browsing in Vermont pasture.

Dairy goats browsing in Vermont pasture.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded the University of Vermont (UVM) a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) in late 2010 that will help producers improve and reclaim marginal pasture and increase profits.

For many of Vermont’s beginning and experienced livestock farmers, having access to established pastures for grazing is one of the greatest limitations for production. Often land is infested with weeds, without enough forage to support a successful livestock operation.  Producers most commonly control weeds with intensive grazing, mowing, or costly herbicides. Read more »

USDA Creates New Solutions for Products and Importers

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service employees recently brought some holiday cheer to an unlikely group—basket weavers from the Rwanda Basket Company.

The Rwanda Basket Company provides training and tools to basket weavers in Rwanda. The Company helps to open overseas markets for the baskets and ensures a better profit for 400 weavers and their 3,000 dependents. The money provides education and improves conditions for those living in one of Africa’s poorest countries. Read more »

Mapping the Food Environment

About this time last year, the city of Washington, DC was digging out from a record amount of snow.  My colleagues at USDA’s Economic Research Service were communicating electronically to get a new web-based mapping tool – the Food Environment Atlas – up and running. This online tool, which measures a community’s food-choice landscape, was to play a key role in the launch of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign against childhood obesity. Read more »

Former President Bill Clinton and Senator Debbie Stabenow to Speak at USDA’s 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum

We are very proud to announce former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow will be the 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum Plenary Session’s distinguished speakers.  Their dedication to public service in the fields of nutrition and agriculture make them a welcome addition to this year’s Forum. The keynote address will be delivered by Secretary Vilsack. Read more »

California Chef Partners with Local Elementary School for Chefs Move to Schools Program

Fremont Elementary School students at Chefs Move to Schools program kick off.

Fremont Elementary School students at Chefs Move to Schools program kick off.

Cross-posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Earlier this fall, in conjunction with International Chefs Day, Chef Melinda Burrows had the opportunity to team with Fremont Elementary School in Alhambra, California, to help launch their Chefs Move to Schools program.

They did so in grand style. With three school assemblies focusing on harvests, the popular event centered around chef-led demonstrations featuring spaghetti squash, pumpkins, and other varieties of healthful foods. Read more »

HUD Sustainable Communities Grants Support Local Food Systems

The Obama Administration’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities initiative is led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency with participation by USDA and other agencies. The map shown here illustrates the geographic reach of several HUD and DOT programs that are included in the Partnership.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge Grants to help support local planning designed to integrate affordable housing, good jobs and public transportation.  These grants are designed to foster reform and reduce barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital and sustainable communities. The funds will be used by communities, large and small, to address local challenges to integrating transportation and housing. Read more »