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NRCS Wetlands Reserve Program Aids in the Recovery of Louisiana Black Bear Habitat

Louisiana black bear cubs.

Louisiana black bear cubs.

The Louisiana black bear was once abundant in the Mississippi River Delta. But by the 1950s, the population was severely diminished in Louisiana, mainly due to habitat loss. Luckily, a voluntary land conservation program offered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is helping this threatened subspecies of the American black bear stage a comeback. Read more »

Secretary Tom Vilsack Speaking Today at Climate Change Conference

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is speaking today at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, at 2:30 p.m. EST.  He will be addressing actions that USDA is taking to strengthen the role of agriculture and forestry in helping to address climate change. The Secretary will discuss ways landowners can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration while improving their financial bottom line. The speech will be streamed live via web broadcast and the public is invited to watch his presentation at:    http://www.connectsolutions.com/cop16/index.html at 2:30 p.m. today. Read more »

Food For Thought Initiative Improving Nutrition and Fighting Hunger

Celebrity chef and author, Art Smith, joins Sesame Street’s Elmo in a healthy and affordable cooking demonstration during the unveiling of a new Sesame Street Workshop initiative, Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget. This free bi-lingual (English-Spanish) multimedia outreach initiative, with funding and partnership support of UnitedHealthcare and The Merck Company Foundation, is designed to help support families who have children between the ages of two and eight, cope with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food. The event took place at the Capital Food Bank in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Photo credit: Gil Vaknin/Sesame Workshop

Celebrity chef and author, Art Smith, joins Sesame Street’s Elmo in a healthy and affordable cooking demonstration during the unveiling of a new Sesame Street Workshop initiative, Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget. This free bi-lingual (English-Spanish) multimedia outreach initiative, with funding and partnership support of UnitedHealthcare and The Merck Company Foundation, is designed to help support families who have children between the ages of two and eight, cope with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food. The event took place at the Capital Food Bank in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Photo credit: Gil Vaknin/Sesame Workshop

There was plenty of warmth and goodwill keeping a bitterly cold Washington morning at bay as I joined the folks at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, at today’s rollout of their Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget, multi-media outreach initiative.  The educational outreach materials are designed to help support families with children between the ages of two and eight, by nurturing their overall development through good nutrition to create positive outcomes that will last a lifetime.  The campaign is aimed at the nearly one in four American children–seventeen million, based on our own USDA Food Security Report estimates–who don’t get the food that meets basic nutritional needs due to difficult economic or social conditions.  There couldn’t be a more appropriate time, given our current economic circumstances, or a more fitting place to have the discussion than on Sesame Street, the best known street in the world, with Elmo and friends, some of the best known characters in America. Read more »

Promise of Broadband Expansion Coming True

Plowing fiber optic cable in Northwest Kansas. (Photo courtesy of Rural Telephone)

Plowing fiber optic cable in Northwest Kansas. (Photo courtesy of Rural Telephone)

In the days of the Great Depression, the National Recovery Act had as part of its focus the development of rural America. The primary initiatives of that era were development of electrical and telephone systems throughout the nation. Read more »

Thanksgiving

My family spent Thanksgiving morning at the D.C. Central Kitchen, where we helped prepare dinners for the homeless and needy in our nation’s capitol.  While some might describe our act as ‘giving to others,’ truth is that it was a gift to us.  I want my children, aged 10 and 11, to understand that not everyone has what they do and that we need to care about others and serve our community.  We all had a blast, by the way, and it made this Thanksgiving one of the best ever!

This is not a soup kitchen, but a centralized kitchen facility that prepares around 4,000 meals daily which are delivered by a fleet of trucks to partner agencies like homeless shelters, rehabilitation clinics, and after school programs.  Read more »

Winter Farmers Markets are Hot Despite the Cold Weather

USDA Farmers Market Directory Counts Nearly 900 Winter Farmers Markets.

The tents are up. The vendors are ready, with proud displays of local produce, meats, baked goods, and other delights. Customers are out – shopping, visiting, and mingling.  It’s a typical farmers market scene, robust with fresh, healthful, local food and lively connections between consumers and producers.

It must be the height of summer, right? Read more »