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“$60,000 is Big Savings for a Small Town”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today met with local officials and community residents in Louisa, Va., and highlighted a Recovery Act project that was announced on the 100th day of the Recovery Act. As a result of a $3.3 loan through USDA Rural Development, the community of Louisa will expand their current wastewater treatment plant’s processing capabilities and improve local water quality. Read more »

DC area USDA employees help feed hungry people in their community

Last Friday marked the final collection day for the Feds Feed Families, a government-wide summer food drive led by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Typically, summer is the slowest time for food bank donations, but the needs of hungry people stay the same throughout the year. Therefore, OPM set a goal for D.C. area federal employees to donate 1 million pounds of food over the summer to make sure that the Capital Area Food Bank, stays well stocked with food for needy people through this difficult time of year.
USDA employees throughout the D.C. metro area responded enthusiastically to this opportunity to help the less fortunate members of our local community. For example, some of the employees at USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) had a contest to see who in their office could bring in the most food. The results were amazing, with four gigantic boxes filled in the space of a few days!

FSA employees with the food they collected

As the final collection day approached, all hands were on deck to promote awareness of the event among the USDA employee community. Last week, Secretary Vilsack sent an email to all USDA employees that included a video appeal from Deputy Secretary Merrigan. On Friday morning, countless boxes full of non-perishable foods and other essential items were transported from all over USDA’s DC area buildings to loading docks to await pickup. The DC National Guard then delivered the food to the Capital Area Food Bank.

Feds feed families-loading the boxes

USDA staff was proud to do its part to make this food drive a huge success, and help out the neediest members of the Washington area community. In fact, this food drive is just one of the ways USDA employees have participated in President Obama’s United We Serve. United We Serve initiative, which calls upon all Americans to serve their communities in these difficult times. As they look toward the future, USDA employees look forward to continuing to help their fellow Americans “every day, in every way!”

Rural Tour Visits California’s Central Valley

Secretary Vilsack meets with business owners and United Farm Workers

Today, Secretary Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Merrigan met with leaders and members of the United Farm Workers at Monterey Mushroom, a company located on the edge of California’s Silicon Valley. The roundtable discussion involving 27 workers and eight growers is part of USDA’s ongoing effort to communicate with disadvantaged and underserved communities. The meeting began with a moment of silence for farm worker champion, Senator Ted Kennedy. Read more »

U.S. Embassy Seoul #35 School Garden Project

When I visited Washington, I met the Secretary of Agriculture who comes from the great farming state of Iowa and he knew that we were going to begin this project. In fact, the idea for this project was inspired by the First Lady’s work with Washington, D.C. students who’ve always lived in the city and have never had a chance to grow vegetables or tend to a garden. As I have the rare privilege of having some land in the center of a very crowded city, I thought some of Seoul’s city students might enjoy a similar experience. Read more »

The Pool: The Great Equalizer

When I received an email from US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding the President and first Lady’s summer of service initiative, United We Serve, I thought, “Oh no, now what?” As I read about the goals of the program, I wasn’t sure if I would have either the time or the energy to do anything. But, as I thought about how lucky I am at this time to have a job, a roof over my head and a reliable vehicle, it seemed very little to ask me to give up one afternoon. Little did I know how much value I would find in giving up one afternoon of my time. Read more »

First Community Garden Opens in Dunwoody

Dunwoody Community Garden signThe first community garden in the newest city in the United States, founded in 2008, celebrated its grand opening during National Community Gardening Week. Read more »