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Administrator of Food Safety and Inspection Service Highlights Spanish Online Tools Available to Spanish-Speaking Community

Al Amanza discusses how the Department is reaching Spanish-speaking consumers and showing how to be more food safe in order to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Today, I’m proud to announce the launch of two more FSIS food safety tools designed especially to meet the needs of our Spanish-speaking community: Pregúntele a Karen and Twitter in Spanish. With these resources, FSIS can provide consumers with the latest, up-to-date information on recalls and safe food handling tips in Spanish. Pregúntele a Karen (Ask Karen) is a virtual food safety representative that can lead live Chats in Spanish sharing food safety information. Read more »

Farmers Markets as Small Business Incubators

The USDA Farmers Market is located at the corner of 12th Street and Independence Avenue and will be open every Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. through November 16th.

Last Sunday, CBS News featured USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan and discussed how farmers markets are part of a fundamental shift in the way people access their food and interact with their community.  And, as the story notes, “… [f]armers markets and other forms of selling straight to customers are helping to keep farmers in business,” which is why those of us at the Agriculture Marketing Service were excited to report that there are now 6,100-plus farmers markets, recognizing that these markets provide jobs and economic growth opportunities for their producers. Read more »

Worldwide Support Network Plays Powerful Role in Creation of Cameroon Company

West African children enjoying instant noodles during the feasibility study. (Photo by Anne Dudte Johnson)

West African children enjoying instant noodles during the feasibility study. (Photo by Anne Dudte Johnson)

The Imperial Foods noodle factory will soon open its doors in Douala, Cameroon, thanks to the truly international collaboration between public and private partners. Cameroonian entrepreneur Ahmadou Danpoulo Baba teamed up with U.S. Wheat Associates’ offices on three continents, the North American Millers’ Association, the American Soybean Association, the private voluntary organization International Relief and Development, and USDA to conceive, design, and build Imperial Foods, which will soon employ 130 workers, mostly women. Read more »

Commemoration of 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

SWR RA Ludwig, Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond, Priest Larry Snyder, and Roy Zuppardo, Chair of Second Harvest Food Bank Greater New Orleans and Acadiana assembled emergency food boxes at the food bank.

Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond, Priest Larry Snyder, Southwest Region RA Ludwig, and Roy Zuppardo, Chair of Second Harvest Food Bank Greater New Orleans and Acadiana assembled emergency food boxes at the food bank.

On Friday, August 27, 2010, I was in New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation to the Gulf Coast.  The event was held at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana.  It was a hot and humid morning as we began the assembly of emergency food boxes alongside Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond, food bank executive director Natalie Jayroe and other notable citizens of New Orleans, the Gulf Coast and federal officials. Read more »

New Marketing Center for Local Producers Opens in Kentucky Thanks to Recovery Act Support from USDA

Administrator Canales talks with Martha Perkins, local Bath County Family Consumer Science Agent during a tour of the new marketing center.

Administrator Canales talks with Martha Perkins, local Bath County Family Consumer Science Agent during a tour of the new marketing center.

USDA Administrator of Business and Cooperative Programs Judy Canales got a taste of true southern hospitality when she visited Kentucky recently. Canales was able to experience the products of local artisans and agriculture producers that were on display in new Bath County Agricultural Education and Marketing Center in Owingsville. Read more »

ERS Announces Partnership with the National Farm to School Network

This week my kids headed back to school, and I’ll be busier than last year, having been drafted to be PTA president.  While  getting to know the new parents at our school, I learned that several are interested in improving school meals and exploring the possibility of purchasing locally and starting a school vegetable garden.  Our new principal is interested too.  I myself have something of a brown thumb, but everyone was excited to hear that I work at the Department of Agriculture and had have been studying Farm to School initiatives throughout the country. I have been in close touch with USDA’s Farm to School team that will visit 15 school districts across the country to learn about their Farm to School activities.

When our agency, the Economic Research Service (ERS), put together the Food Environment Atlas earlier this year, we included information on which counties had at least one Farm to School program, using data from the National Farm to School Network.  The Network maintains the only national data base of Farm to School programs.  After the Atlas was released on our website, we received phone calls from programs that hadn’t been included, and this underscored the need to build a complete data base of these programs. Read more »