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Connecting Children to Food and Farming: Agriculture in the Classroom

As the population of the United States has transitioned from a predominantly agrarian society to an increasingly more urban one, our youth have become detached from a fundamental understanding of agriculture.  Nonetheless, we benefit from the innovations and efficiencies of our food supply on a daily basis.

USDA’s Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) Program promotes agricultural literacy among the nation’s K-12 students.  This is accomplished by a network of AITC programs located across the country that serve nearly 5 million students and 60,000 teachers through workshops and other teaching activities each year.  AITC provides resources that incorporate other subjects, such as mathematics, language arts, history, and chemistry, into learning experiences that correspond to state academic standards.  Agricultural literacy is fundamental to the development of the next generation of scientists, teachers, and policy-makers to ensure a sufficient food supply for the world’s inhabitants. Read more »

Household Food Security Report: Call for Action

Today, USDA’s Economic Research Service released the report “Household Food Security in the United States 2009,” and reported that 17.4 million households had difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of resources, about the same as in 2008. In more than a third of those households, at least one member did not get enough to eat at some time during the year and normal eating patterns were disrupted due to limited resources. Read more »

Alabama Gets the Gold of Distinction!

I was thrilled to stand in the Civic Center in Pelham, Ala., on October 29th to celebrate the State of Alabama’s great accomplishment of 52 Alabama Public Schools meeting USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge.  Alabama has received 39, more than half of HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Awards of Distinction that have been awarded in the nation.  Two schools received HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Awards, seven silver and four bronze. Read more »

Native American Role Model Addresses USDA Employees about ‘Global Unity Through Diversity’

Rusty Gillette, Arikara/Hidatsa, a world class Grass Dancer from the Fort Berthold Reservation in White Shield, North Dakota was the cultural entertainment for the United States Department of Agriculture, National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month ceremony, "From the Roots of Our Past Grow the Promises of Tomorrow," held in Washington, DC, Tuesday, November 9, 2010. Gillette whose Indian name is “Hooves” is a member of the Dead Grass Society.

Rusty Gillette, Arikara/Hidatsa, a world class Grass Dancer from the Fort Berthold Reservation in White Shield, North Dakota was the cultural entertainment for the United States Department of Agriculture, National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month ceremony, "From the Roots of Our Past Grow the Promises of Tomorrow," held in Washington, DC, Tuesday, November 9, 2010. Gillette whose Indian name is “Hooves” is a member of the Dead Grass Society.

Earlier this week I was honored to participate in an event here at USDA that marked National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.  Billy Mills, 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist addressed a capacity audience, sharing his life story and observations about how America and the world’s diversity can be a force, not to drive us apart, but to bring us together. Read more »

An Alaska Housing Authority Names USDA Rural Development “Lender of the Year”

USDA Rural Development has a long history of providing rural Americans with access to safe, sanitary and affordable housing.  In interior Alaska, quality housing is a basic need.  Temperatures regularly plunge far below zero, often to as cold as -60 F. Thanks to extra effort on the part of some dedicated USDA employees, this winter a number of rural families in interior Alaska communities will have homes they can be proud of. Read more »

FSA Participa en Evento para la Contratación de Hispanos con Estudios Superiores

La Agencia de Servicio Agrícola (“Farm Service Agency” o FSA, por sus siglas en inglés) se enorgullece de encabezar la marcha en la representación del USDA en un importante evento nacional a favor de la educación de los hispanos.  La ocasión fue la convención anual de la Asociación Hispana de Universidades (“Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities” o HACU), celebrada este año en San Diego, California. La oficina de la FSA del estado de California estuvo a cargo de coordinar la participación, y se me asigno la responsabilidad de montar y atender el quiosco de información, junto con otros funcionarios de la FSA y de Desarrollo Rural (“Rural Development”) en California. El quiosco de la FSA figuró como un punto focal de atención para los estudiantes y varias otras agencias del USDA también compartieron con éxito su información con los estudiantes presentes. Read more »