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Addressing Hunger with Fresh and Local Foods

Here’s the second video in our three-part series introducing Rural Development programs that can support local and regional food systems:

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Nature Is Their Classroom-USDA Honors a Utah School as they Dedicate new Classrooms

“Green Student Council” after posting flag to the new classroom building

“Green Student Council” after posting flag to the new classroom building

Blue Skies and excitement in the air was the setting for the recent celebration of dedicating three new classroom buildings at Soldier Hollow Charter School (SHCS), in Midway, Utah.  The new buildings were designed to fit perfectly into the stunning mountain terrain.  The school is recognized for its unique learning environment for K-8th grades. Read more »

North Carolina School Construction Project Moves Forward Thanks to the Recovery Act

Congressman Bob Etheridge, Deputy Under Secretary Vasquez visit the Middlesex Elementary School Construction site in North Carolina

Congressman Bob Etheridge, Deputy Under Secretary Vasquez visit the Middlesex Elementary School Construction site in North Carolina

USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Vasquez and Congressman Bob Etheridge along with North Carolina Rural Development State Director Randall Gore visited the Middlesex Elementary School construction site in Nash County, North Carolina earlier this week.  The project was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Read more »

Keeping the Focus on HealthierUS Schools

First-grader Cassidy Stone clears her tray of soy nuts, whole wheat pizza stick, broccoli and jello, saying “the food tastes good.”

First-grader Cassidy Stone clears her tray of soy nuts, whole wheat pizza stick, broccoli and jello, saying “the food tastes good.”

As Child Nutrition Director for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, one of my top priorities is to improve the nutrition and health of our nation’s children. With the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization, we have an opportunity to pass legislation that will combat childhood hunger and obesity among schoolchildren by providing schools with the tools and resources needed to help children develop healthier eating habits. Read more »

Science of Food Safety through the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone

FSIS employees LCDR Sherry Spriggs and Dr. Jessica Forshee distribute food safety educational materials outside of the Food Safety Discovery Zone. The popular Food Safety Wheel Game is visible in the background.

FSIS employees LCDR Sherry Spriggs and Dr. Jessica Forshee distribute food safety educational materials outside of the Food Safety Discovery Zone. The popular Food Safety Wheel Game is visible in the background.

This past weekend, the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone (FSDZ) appeared at the inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival Expo in Washington, DC.  Over 1,500 exhibitors, including universities, private industry, and government agencies filled the National Mall and surrounding areas with thought-provoking, fun, interactive, and hands-on displays. The mission of the organizer and founder, Larry Bock, and his team is to re-invigorate the interest of our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by producing and presenting the most compelling, exciting, educational and entertaining science-based exhibits and displays in the United States. If this weekend was any measure, they definitely succeeded! Read more »

Feed Grain with a Name and a Story

Donn Teske, farmer and President of the Kansas Farmers’ Union, is optimistic.  He believes that small and mid-sized farms are making successful inroads to improve their market power and these efforts have great potential.  Donn himself operates a fifth generation, 2,000 acre organic farm and ranch in northeastern Kansas, and, in spite of increasing difficulties, he has not been deterred from continuing to improve the marketing opportunities for mid-sized farmers.

One of these opportunities has come from the Kansas Organic Producers (KOP), a group of nearly sixty farmers that provides crucial marketing services for its members.  Established in 1974 as an education association to help promote the production and marketing of organic products, the group restructured in 1992 to focus on marketing organic grain.  One-third of Donn’s farm is dedicated to alfalfa hay, red clover, milo (grain sorghum), corn, soybeans and wheat.  With nearly his entire crop production servicing the livestock industry, KOP is his primary marketing channel.  His harvest alone would be far more difficult to market effectively, but the services of KOP give growers a shared clout. Read more »