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A Rural Mississippi Community Gets a New Library with USDA Recovery Act Support

When almost half a million dollars for a new library comes to Fayette, Mississippi, it brings the whole community to the event, as seen in this photo.

When almost half a million dollars for a new library comes to Fayette, Mississippi, it brings the whole community to the event, as seen in this photo.

Jefferson County in Mississippi, a rural county with a population of almost 10,000, was the site of an event last week commemorating a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities grant and loan combination that will bring a modern, state-of-the-art library to that county. Read more »

“A Personal Impact to Climate Change”: Preserving the Northwoods Landscape for Future Generations

A striking sunset crowns the trees surrounding this northern Wisconsin lake, whose impacts from climate change are reflected in the blog by Leslie Brandt, US Forest Service, below."

A striking sunset crowns the trees surrounding this northern Wisconsin lake, whose impacts from climate change are reflected in the blog by Leslie Brandt, US Forest Service, below.

Every summer since I was four years old, I’ve been returning to a small glacial lake in Northern Wisconsin where my family had summer cottages. As a child, I’d spend all day swimming in the lake that was darkened by the tannins secreted by the surrounding hemlock trees. The lake was often so cold that my lips turned purple, but not enough to break a determined child’s spirit. Read more »

Report Shows The Recovery Act Creates Jobs and Changes Lives for the Better

Secretary Tom Vilsack  with USDA Rural Development employees who administered Recovery Act expenditures: (Left to Right) Nancy House, Genevieve Sandoval, Cheryl Gamboney, Secretary Vilsack, Assistant Administrator Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk, and Greg Caramanica.

Secretary Tom Vilsack with USDA Rural Development employees who administered Recovery Act expenditures: (Left to Right) Nancy House, Genevieve Sandoval, Cheryl Gamboney, Secretary Vilsack, Assistant Administrator Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk, and Greg Caramanica.

Cross-posted from the White House Blog.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a driving force in job creation and economic renewal in rural America. Read more »

USDA Plants the Seeds to Help Mississippi Grow

This September we announced the 2010 awards for our Specialty Crop Block Grants (SCBG), a program geared toward increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables by offering grants to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which administers the program, funds projects across a broad spectrum of activity, such as research related to increasing crop yields, state marketing campaigns like “Minnesota Grown,”  and improving supply chain management for emerging local and regional food systems.  These grants can propel burgeoning projects to the next level and help drive local economies and assist farmers.  In many cases producers have benefited by diversifying their farms to include specialty crops, such as blueberries and pistachios, to meet consumer demand. Read more »

USDA Forest Service to receive “Family Hike” painting from artist Robert Bateman

“Family Hike” is an original painting by artist Robert Bateman. On October 22, it will presented to the USDA Forest Service at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

"Family Hike" masterpiece created by Robert Bateman.

The “Family Hike” masterpiece by Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman will be presented to the USDA Forest Service this Friday, October 22, at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. The Forest Service is acquiring the original painting to support the growth of the Robert Bateman Get to Know Program in the United States. Read more »

Community Partners: A Recipe for Success

Miguel Villarreal, NUSD Director Food and Nutritional Services explains to USDA Food and Nutrition Service Deputy Administrator for SNP Audrey Rowe how NUSD brings nutrition and wellness environments to each district campus.

Miguel Villarreal, NUSD Director Food and Nutritional Services explains to USDA Food and Nutrition Service Deputy Administrator for SNP Audrey Rowe how NUSD brings nutrition and wellness environments to each district campus.

Top U.S. Department of Agriculture officials came to Novato in September to learn about the district’s success in partnering with various community organizations to bring fresh, local and organic fruits and vegetables to school meals while supporting local farmers. Project Lunch is the culmination of several innovative developments sought by Food & Nutritional Services Director Miguel Villarreal since coming to Novato in 2002. “We’re putting nutrition and wellness in the forefront,” Villarreal stated to the crowd gathered in Novato High School’s cafeteria for the kick-off event on September 9. Whole Foods, Marin Organics, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Teens Turning Green and the Marin Department of Public Health are just a few of the partners that participated in the event. Novato High, the event site sponsor, is leading the movement by launching the district’s first Food Club. Food Clubs are made up of students, food service staff, farmers, chefs, and other school community partners working together to improve school lunches through hands-on learning. The Club will take field trips to farms, farmers markets, and green grocers and will prepare meals and host chef demos. Read more »