Today, I accompanied Secretary Vilsack on a trip to the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois to announce USDA’s year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of our founding in 1862. It is quite fitting that we are marking this celebration in the hometown of our founder, President Abraham Lincoln, which just so happens to be my hometown as well.
During today’s festivities, Secretary Vilsack unveiled the official 150th anniversary graphic to help mark the occasion which you can view at the USDA 150th anniversary website. This graphic will be used throughout the year as the USDA community celebrates this landmark anniversary by commemorating important events, such as the signing of the legislation to establish the Department on May 15, 1862 by President Lincoln, and the July signing of the Morrill Act to establish our public land grant universities. Read more »
Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton (center right) and American Culinary Federation Chef David S. Bearl (center left) pose with RB Hunt Elementary first graders from Christine Skipp’s and Lori Hall’s class as they show off pumpkins. Thornton and Bearl visited the school located in St. Augustine, Fla., on Oct 18, to celebrate Farm to School Month and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Chefs Move to Schools initiative. The pumpkins were harvested from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural farm, Hastings, Fla., and were also used in the school’s lunch for the day. (Photo by Lanna Kirk)
Nothing says autumn like pumpkins fresh from the farm! And since it’s Farm to School month, It’s fitting that I joined Christine Skipp, Lori Hall and their first grade class at RB Hunt Elementary School, in St. Augustine, Fla. to sample 11 different varieties of pumpkins. We took advantage of this fall’s harvest from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences farm in Hastings, Fla. Read more »
As a little girl, actress Betty White dreamed of becoming one. Gary Locke, U.S. ambassador to China, also shared this childhood dream.
What makes Jana Desrocher different is that she is living this dream.
Since May, Desrocher of Hemet, Calif. has been doing many of the duties of a forest ranger on the San Bernardino National Forest. In fact, she loves it so much that she does it for free. Desrocher is a volunteer ranger. Read more »
Photo coutesy of Greg Horner, @DeepRunFarms
Every year, American farmers work to ensure that everyone can have a pumpkin in their home to carve, eat, or decorate their tables. This year we asked you to show us how YOU used a pumpkin this season, and we were overwhelmed with the response! We just wanted to take the time to thank you for letting us in on your artistic, and in some cases culinary talents, and to share a few of our favorites. Read more »
Fothergilla leaves make the transition from green to red in the National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum. (Photo credit U.S. National Arboretum)
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
Like a lot of people, I remember being taught when I was young that the brilliant autumn foliage of deciduous trees was caused by the cold temperatures of autumn frosts. I believed this until I became a horticulturist, studying the intricate system that plants use to prepare for winter’s harsh weather. Where I work, at the U.S. National Arboretum, we grow about 10,000 different kinds of trees and shrubs and have an overwhelming variety of fall color right now. Read more »
U. S. Representative Rush Holt (left) and USDA Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Pat Dombroski mingle with proud children showing off their school garden before tasting an eatable flower grown just a few feet away.
How does one turn a cold, miserable rainy day in late October into one as bright and warm as a sunny day in June? Just visit a local elementary school where students and teachers and community volunteers are all so excited about the bountiful garden out back behind the school. A magical place where young minds learn about growing healthy foods, about earthworms and soil, about cover crops and harvesting, about composting and frost dates, and about how tasty that strange looking vegetable with the funny name is . . . the one they started to grow from seedlings last school year. Read more »