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Michigan Chef Embraces First Lady’s “Chefs Move to Schools” Initiative

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

In March 2011, USDA Special Nutrition Programs Regional Director Julie Mikkelson and I met Chef Paul Penney at a HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) award celebration in Canton, Michigan. Chef Paul, a volunteer with the First Lady’s Chefs Move to Schools initiative, was in the kitchen at Dodson Elementary School helping school foodservice staff prepare mashed sweet potatoes and apples and Michigan cherry chili.

Both dishes, recipes he created for the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, were making their debut at Dodson that day. At the lunchroom entrance, Chef Paul greeted each student and handed out 2 ounce “tasting cups” of the chili and the sweet potatoes. (He credits Plymouth-Canton foodservice director Kristen Hennessey with the idea.) Read more »

U.S. Forest Service and Partners Create a Storytelling DVD Designed to Inform and Inspire Hmong Americans

A new DVD is helping to deliver conservation messages designed to encourage Hmong Americans to enjoy public lands and be mindful of the responsibilities associated with enjoying the America’s great outdoors.

Conservation professionals have lacked culturally-appropriate tools for reaching the Hmong American community, especially in major Hmong population centers in Minnesota, Wisconsin and California. Read more »

With USDA Assistance, Eastern Kentucky Renters Have a New Safe Housing Option

Some Prestonsburg, Kentucky residents have a new place to call home after the doors were opened recently on a newly constructed multi-family housing complex.  The complex was funded in part by USDA Rural Development.

Some Prestonsburg, Kentucky residents have a new place to call home after the doors were opened recently on a newly constructed multi-family housing complex. The complex was funded in part by USDA Rural Development.

Residents in the rural Eastern Kentucky community of Prestonsburg have a new place to call home after Preston’s Crossing opened the doors on a newly constructed multi-family housing complex. Prestonsburg is located in Floyd County, which is one of Kentucky’s  persistent poverty counties. Read more »

People’s Garden Opens in Gwacheon National Science Museum in Korea

Junior Master Growers-Korea plant flowers in the People’s Garden at the Gwacheon National Science Museum.

Junior Master Growers-Korea plant flowers in the People’s Garden at the Gwacheon National Science Museum.

You may remember when USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last June that People’s Garden’s existed in all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and three foreign countries. Since then, People’s Gardens are cropping up at Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) posts throughout the world. Read more »

Clinic on Wheels Reaches Communities Once Isolated from WIC Clinics

More than 112,000 Rio Grande Valley moms, infants and children depend on the nutritional benefits provided by WIC – the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program Women, Infants and Children. The four counties that make up the Valley (Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy) have done a good job of identifying and serving nutritionally at-risk households using innovative outreach methods. They have caught the attention of USDA Director of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Max Finberg and USDA FNS Southwest Regional Administrator Bill Ludwig, who toured Hidalgo County’s main WIC clinic on April 11. Read more »

New Report Looks at Improving Biodiversity Measurements

A new report titled Measuring Up: Synchronizing Biodiversity Measurement Systems for Markets and Other Incentive Programs was just released by the Willamette Partnership with funding and support from USDA’s Office of Environmental Markets (OEM). The report analyzes 25 existing biodiversity measurement systems to identify the elements necessary for a good system.  It presents a standard process for developing measurement systems and offers options for improving the performance of biodiversity markets and conservation programs.  The report’s findings are useful to those interested in measuring conservation effects and increasing the effectiveness of incentive programs.  For example, the report examines how to balance precision and usability, and standardization and customization. Read more »