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Feds, Farmers and Friends Feed Families

By Debra Baczewski, USDA Rural Development, Amherst, Mass.

In support of the Feds Feed Families summer food drive, employees at the USDA Rural Development State Office in Amherst, Massachusetts have been collecting non-perishable food donations in their office. On Tuesday July 27, 105 pounds of non-perishable food items and fresh produce harvested from the Massachusetts State Office’s People’s Garden were delivered to the Amherst Survival Center (ASC.) Read more »

Deputy USDA Under Secretary Announces Grant Awards that Support Local and Regional Food Systems in Oregon

By Vicki Walker, USDA Rural Development Oregon State Director

Victor Vasquez, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, delivered a strong, upbeat message to grant recipients at the Community Services Consortium Youth House Gardens in Corvallis, Oregon on July 12.  The Deputy Under Secretary was in Oregon to highlight the USDA “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, and to emphasize the importance of Rural Development programs in delivering on economic recovery efforts. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Promotes Entrepreneurship in Delaware

Written by Rachael Dubinsky, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Intern

As the sweltering summer sun beat down on the storefront of Ocean Fresh Seafood in Harrington, Del., Kathy and Randy Cagle beamed with pride as they saw the fruits of the labor finally paying off. With their retail seafood market up and running, the Cagle’s were filled with gratitude. Read more »

USDA Programs at a Glance

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 »

USDA Assists a West Virginia Family With An Affordable Home Loan

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 »

USDA’s Blog is Getting a Makeover

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!