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Mobile Ask Karen’s First Anniversary is BYOQ: Bring Your Own Question

Mobile Ask Karen makes food safety tips available whenever and wherever you need them. Look up information about safely preparing tonight’s dinner while making purchases at the meat counter.

Mobile Ask Karen makes food safety tips available whenever and wherever you need them. Look up information about safely preparing tonight’s dinner while making purchases at the meat counter.

One year ago, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service made our first leap into the world of mobile technology, bringing practical information about food safety literally to Americans’ fingertips. With the launch of our Mobile Ask Karen smartphone app, consumers are now able to ask questions like “To what temperature should I cook beef?” whenever and wherever they need the answers. Read more »

Military Veterans: the Next Generation of Organic Farmers

: A veteran and participant of the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training program handles living basil at an organic hydroponic farm, which grows plants in water as opposed to soil. The program, started by decorated Marine sergeant Colin Archipley, passes on agricultural knowledge to veterans to not only provide healing through farming but also to support them in starting their own agricultural enterprises.

: A veteran and participant of the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training program handles living basil at an organic hydroponic farm, which grows plants in water as opposed to soil. The program, started by decorated Marine sergeant Colin Archipley, passes on agricultural knowledge to veterans to not only provide healing through farming but also to support them in starting their own agricultural enterprises.

Compost tea (a mixture of recycled organic matter soaked in water), hydroponic living basil, and organic certification are terms that, at first glance, may not have much of a connection to military veterans. Colin Archipley, a decorated Marine sergeant, and his wife Karen however saw the combination as a win-win when they founded the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) program outside San Diego, California. Read more »

Focusing on the Future of Food Assistance

USDA’s food assistance and development programs serve a dual purpose: to meet the immediate needs of hungry people, and to show their countries how to rejuvenate their agricultural sectors and increase their capacity to trade. We accomplish these goals in cooperation with other U.S. government agencies and with private-sector partners ranging from non-governmental organizations to research institutions to agribusinesses. And we are always looking for ways to be more effective.

So this week, at the International Food Aid and Development Conference (IFADC) in Kansas City, we got back to basics, discussing steps we are taking to operate our international aid programs more efficiently to ensure that program dollars go directly to eliminating hunger and poverty. We focused on how USDA can strengthen our partnerships with academia and international relief and development groups, as well as with local and international companies. After all, these organizations have the know-how and expertise that allows USDA to leverage limited funding to make a broad and enduring impact. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: “The Peoples’ Department: 150 Years of USDA”

On May 15, we will recognize the 150th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  On that date in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing USDA.

Two and a half years after he established the Department, in what would be his final annual message to Congress, Lincoln called USDA “The People’s Department.”

President Lincoln knew the importance of agriculture to our prosperity – particularly at a time when about half of all Americans lived on the farm. And while that number today stands at about 2 percent, our values are still rooted in rural America. Read more »

Commemorating 150 Years at USDA – Join a Live Twitter Chat with Secretary Vilsack and #AskUSDA

Did you know USDA brings Thanksgiving dinner to our troops serving abroad?
Did you know that USDA is
responsible for fabric testing, including creating flame-retardant finishes used on products like firefighters’ uniforms and military clothing and children’s pajamas?
Did you know 1 in 5 Americans drink H2O that originated on a national forest?

Read more »

Let’s Move Farmers to Schools!

First-hand experiences with agriculture are a key component of farm to school programs.

First-hand experiences with agriculture are a key component of farm to school programs.

Webinar Offers More Details on USDA Grants to Connect Schools and Local Producers

I’ve always thought the Let’s Move! initiative does an exceptional job of including everyone in the challenge of creating a healthier generation of kids. On the agriculture side, I’m pleased to say there’s a long list of folks eager to contribute: farmers, ranchers, fishermen, dairies, food processors, manufacturers, distributors and many others. Read more »