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Give: Every Day, Every Way. USDA Kicks Off the 2010 Combined Federal Campaign

Opening ceremonies for the 2010 Combined Federal Campaign held on the Patio of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, October 12, 2010.

Opening ceremonies for the 2010 Combined Federal Campaign held on the Patio of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, October 12, 2010.

Yesterday marked the official launch of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) at USDA for the Washington, D.C. metro area. This year, USDA has set a goal of raising just under $2 million from our employees in the national capital area. We have chosen the theme Give: Every Day, Every Way, as it resonates with the range of giving options available to employees. The kickoff was an exciting event featuring more than 20 CFC registered non-profit organizations. Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and I led off the event by speaking movingly about the ways that non-profit organizations touch all of our lives in critical and transformative ways. Read more »

Members of Maine’s Native American Tribes Share Views with USDA Deputy Administrator on Substantially Underserved Trust Areas

Aroostook Band of Micmacs Cultural Director John Dennis performed a smudging ceremony for attendees at the Tribal Consultation. In the photo are John Dennis and USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel

Aroostook Band of Micmacs Cultural Director John Dennis performed a smudging ceremony for attendees at the Tribal Consultation. In the photo are John Dennis and USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel

Maine USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel welcomed the Deputy Administrator for Rural Utilities (RUS) Jessica Zufolo to Maine this week for an important tribal consultation meeting with leaders of Maine’s Native American tribes. Read more »

Deputy Secretary Presents HealthierUS School Challenge Gold of Distinction Award to the Academy of Global Citizenship

Deputy Secretary Merrigan listens as two students from the Academy of Global Citizenship explain what they feed their chickens and why.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan listens as two students from the Academy of Global Citizenship explain what they feed their chickens and why.

An organic breakfast featuring vanilla spiced whole oats, scrambled vegetable tofu, organic milk and local pears, followed by morning yoga in the classroom, a student-led garden tour and a visit to the chicken coop… what a wonderful way to spend a Tuesday morning!  That day, I had the pleasure of attending a special ceremony with Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan at the Academy of Global Citizenship (AGC) in Chicago where she presented them with USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) Gold of Distinction Award, the HUSSC’s highest honor.  It was easy to see why they are the first school in Chicago and the entire Midwest to receive such an honor. Read more »

National School Lunch Week: Reasons to Celebrate

A young girl enjoying a healthy school lunch.

A young girl enjoying a healthy school lunch.

National School Lunch Week is underway this week. It’s an annual event, of course, but this year I think we have a lot to celebrate because more and more people are coming to understand how important it is to provide America’s school children with a healthy nutrition environment at school.   In fact, as I look around, I see encouraging developments in many areas, but none more so than the growing number of schools that have decided to take on USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge. Read more »

USDA Recognizes West Virginia School for Earning Gold in HealthierUS School Challenge

Dishing it out in the cafeteria.

Dishing it out in the cafeteria.

I recently had the pleasure accompanying Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Audrey Rowe and Yvette Jackson, Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator on a visit to Duval Elementary-Middle School in Lincoln County, West Virginia.  Known for wide open spaces and a laid back lifestyle, Lincoln County is also becoming known as a healthy place. We were there because Duval was recognized with a HealthierUS School Challenge gold award, the first of its kind in West Virginia. Read more »

All Hands on Deck!

Audrey Rowe speaking at the Faith, Families and Schools Conference in CT

Audrey Rowe speaking at the Faith, Families and Schools Conference in CT

It was all hands on deck at the 3rd Annual Faith, Families & Schools Conference held in Cromwell, Connecticut.  I was extremely pleased to see many of my state colleagues working together in such an important effort.  I participated as the keynote speaker and was introduced by George A. Coleman, Deputy Commissioner Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE). Working together for Student Success was the theme throughout conference.  Members of numerous organizations set up exhibits and had the opportunity to listen to our FNS messageRead more »