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Midwest Region People’s Garden Starts Accepting SNAP Card

Windy City Harvest Staff processes an Illinois LINK card with the garden’s new EBT Machine at the Midwest Region's People's Garden.

Windy City Harvest Staff processes an Illinois LINK card with the garden’s new EBT Machine at the Midwest Region's People's Garden.

Recently, fellow staff member, Victor Ho, and I ventured out to the Midwest Region’s People’s Garden on the west side of Chicago. It was a sunny, 80 degree day and we were ready to harvest a bumper crop of vegetables. We also wanted to check out the garden’s new wireless Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system which enabled the garden to begin accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamp Program) benefits—the first USDA People’s Garden to do so! Read more »

Recovery Act USDA Community Facilities Funds Help Residents of Northern Wisconsin Receive Improved Dental Care

Thousands of limited income residents of northern Wisconsin now have access to quality dental care with support from USDA, the Community Facilities Program and the Recovery Act.

Thousands of limited income residents of northern Wisconsin now have access to quality dental care with support from USDA, the Community Facilities Program and the Recovery Act.

For people living in Northern Wisconsin, oral healthcare often gets neglected.  The expense of visiting a dentist and the distance required to travel to receive quality care are factors that have made it difficult for rural Wisconsinites to receive the care they require.  Family Health Center of Marshfield, Inc. has seen this essential need in Wisconsin’s rural communities and has made it their mission to find a solution to provide greater access to proper dental care.  Read more »

Farmers Markets as Small Business Incubators

Friday Farmers Market at the USDA.

Friday Farmers Market at the USDA.

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.

Farmers markets are a unique business structure: lower overhead costs and direct and valued contact with their customer base make for innovative and responsive farmers that can experiment with offering new items more easily.  If a producer is able to find the right product mix for consumer demand, they can develop a sound business, create new jobs, and grow successfully. Read more »

Ohio Economic Development Conference Promotes Business Opportunity and Job Creation

(Left to right) Ohio Rural Development State Director Tony Logan, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Deb Martin, Great Lakes RCAP Director and Judith Canales, USDA Rural Development Administrator for Business and Cooperative Programs at the Ohio RCAP conference.

(Left to right) Ohio Rural Development State Director Tony Logan, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Deb Martin, Great Lakes RCAP Director and Judith Canales, USDA Rural Development Administrator for Business and Cooperative Programs at the Ohio RCAP conference.

The Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) held an intensive two-day economic development conference in Ohio on Aug. 24-25 targeting educational outreach to the state’s small, rural community leaders. With more than 300 participants from Ohio and neighboring states on hand, and an impressive line-up of speakers and workshops, the conference provided both motivation and insights on strategic planning for those in attendance. Read more »

EL ADMINISTRADOR DEL FSIS DESTACA HERRAMIENTAS DISPONIBLES EN LA RED ELECTRÓNICA PARA LA INOCUIDAD DE ALIMENTOS

El Administrador del Servicio de Inocuidad e Inspección de Alimentos (FSIS, por sus siglas en inglés) del Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos (USDA, por sus siglas en inglés), Al Almanza, conversa acerca de cómo el Departamento está llegando a los consumidores que hablan español, y demostrando cómo mantener los alimentos sanos para prevenir las enfermedades transmitidas a través de los alimentos.

Hoy, estoy orgulloso de anunciar el lanzamiento de dos herramientas adicionales del FSIS para la inocuidad alimentaria, dirigidas especialmente para satisfacer las necesidades de nuestra comunidad de habla hispana: Pregúntele a Karen y la cuenta oficial de Twitter en español. Con ambos servicios, el FSIS puede proveerles a los consumidores con la más reciente y actualizada información en español acerca de las retiradas de alimentos y consejos sobre el manejo adecuado de alimentos.  Pregúntele a Karen (Ask Karen) es una representante virtual con información en inocuidad alimentaria que puede conducir “Charlas” en vivo en español, compartiendo información en la inocuidad de los alimentos. Read more »

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 »