The Department of Agriculture is a big institution, with a $149 billion budget and 114,000 employees. When Secretary Vilsack asked me to spearhead the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, my first impulse wasn’t to create new programs and authorities, but rather to figure out how better to use the resources at hand. Of course, I was aware of certain USDA programs that have, for years, focused on local food, such as the Farmers Market Promotion Program within the Agricultural Marketing Service. I was also aware that Congress, as part of the 2008 farm bill, took new interest in local foods by, for example, directing that USDA set aside 5% of funding to promote local foods within the Business and Industry Loan Program in the Rural Business and Cooperative Service. Finally, I knew many existing USDA programs, while not dedicated to local food, could be harnessed to better support local and regional food systems. Read more »
By Gail Bennett, Public Affairs Specialist, WV USDA Rural Development On Behalf of State Director Bobby Lewis
They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” and this happy young man brings meaning and life to the cliché.
Jamalyn Sexton and her three year old son, Connor, are happy new homeowners. A celebration was held in their honor during National Homeownership Month in Elkins, West Virginia. Federal, State and local government officials, stakeholders, lending partners, and family members were present. Read more »
By Peter Rhee, Creative Media Director
In a few days, USDA will launch a newly revamped and refreshed Blog, bringing key enhancements to our current offering. You will notice a new look and feel, enhanced search capabilities, easier navigation, categorization, and faster access to previous blog posts.
For over a year, USDA has been sharing stories and information on a wide array of topics, from Economic Job Forums and nutrition efforts, to beehives and gardens at USDA facilities. Through an unprecedented collaborative effort behind the scenes at USDA, we’ve been working hard to post blogs about our projects and initiatives, from Agency offices worldwide, and messages from the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. Our goal has always been to feature interesting articles in a more conversational and accessible way that allows for public discussion.
We’re really excited about our new Blog and hope that you’ll check it out, and consider adding it to your daily feed and regular blog reading. Stay tuned for the switch and let us know what you think!
By Stacy Porto, Special Assistant
Federal employees from across the country are coming together to do what the USDA does every day – increase food security and reduce hunger by providing low-income people access to food.
Inspired by President Obama’s United We Serve Act, the Feds, Farmers, and Friends Feed Families food drive began as a response to serve in your own community. USDA is leading the effort and Secretary Vilsack reminded us that while the needs of those who are hungry are great, “our opportunity to make a difference in their lives is also great.” No one should go hungry, and no one should be without access to healthy, nutritious foods. Read more »
By Lisa Wallenda Picard, Food Safety and Inspection Service Chief of Staff
“Stop! She has to eat some fruit! Don’t give her MORE chips! MOM – Cassie’s going to kill her daughter with all this junk food!” Ceci Picard, aged 11, while playing one of the Apps for Healthy Kids entries.
I admit the quote above isn’t the usual nightly exchange I hear between my two tween daughters. This week they have been happily trying all the new games in the Apps for Healthy Kids gallery. Since their mom works at the Department of Agriculture, they have been exposed to the idea of healthful, safe food frequently in their young lives. But as all parents finally admit, kids often choose to do the opposite of what we tell them to do. These apps have been great at reinforcing the points I’ve been making for several years now, but in a much cooler way! Read more »
By Wayne Maloney, Office of Communications
Officials from USDA and the Department of Education met at the Agriculture Department yesterday with National FFA student leaders from across the country. The students are visiting Washington, D.C., for the annual National FFA State President’s Conference.
Among those addressing the students was Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier, Dr. Roger Beachy, Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager. Read more »