Earlier this month, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced almost 300 Value Added Producer Grant recipients across the Nation. Each one of those recipients has a story, and a dream that, with help from USDA, will become reality. From producing pumpkin puree and gourmet cheese to expanding a caviar production operation in Idaho (Yes, Idaho), Rural Americans are using these matching grants to grow their businesses and bring high quality products to market.
Using funding provided through the USDA Value Added Producer Grant program, an Idaho producer will expand sales of gourmet caviar. Photo by Ashley Smith, Times-News staff photographer, used with permission.
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Loyal Doers 4-H Club members get produce ready for their community farmers market. The market was started by the club as a response to the needs of the community, and helps teach members the fundamentals of agriculture and community involvement. Photo by Bradley D. James
This summer, the Loyal Doers 4-H Club in Hooker, Oklahoma, successfully held the state’s first 4-H-sponsored farmers market. The market was a huge success, and the youth gained firsthand knowledge about growing produce and getting involved in the community. It also helped the community connect with the farmers that produce their food while offering them a wonderful selection of fresh, wholesome products. Read more »
Since the early twentieth century, 4-H (head-heart-hands-health) has been an avenue for American boys and girls to develop leadership skills, receive vocational training, participate in community service and much more.
Today, 4-H, which is USDA’s premier youth development program, has clubs in 81 different countries including Iraq, thanks to the hard work and perseverance of one USDA employee—Mary Kerstetter. Read more »
Anyone can be healthy “if you eat right and try to get moving,” said a young participant in Move Across Missouri, a program developed in partnership with University of Missouri Extension 4-H and the Missouri Beef Industry Council. Move Across Missouri encourages 4-Hers to increase their physical activity and track the time they spend moving through the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA), which challenges kids to log 60 minutes of physical activity for five days out of the week for six out of eight weeks. Read more »
Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:
There’s a lot going on in the Church Hill North neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia! For three years, the congregation at 31st Street Baptist Church has been growing fresh vegetables in an urban garden behind their church. More recently, they launched a healthy living campaign to encourage the congregation and the surrounding community to get active and eat more nutritious foods.
Led by Rev. Dr. Henderson, who serves as senior pastor, 31st Street Baptist Church has acquired three city lots behind their church. The congregants have a large community garden with 24 cultivated raised beds in one of the lots. The garden provides healthy, fresh produce to a community without close access to a grocery store. The majority of the produce from the garden is used in the church’s nutrition center, which has served members of the local community for 21 years and receives some of its food via USDA’s Emergency Food Assistance (TEFAP) program. Read more »
Across our communities, young farmers are taking out loans, rolling up their sleeves and taking part in the American Dream in hopes of becoming future farmers with the ability to own a farm of their own one day.
Rebecca Hatcher and Jake Broadway are members of the Grundy County High School Future Farmers of America. When they decided to participate in the 4-H market steer project they contacted the Winchester Farm Service Agency (FSA) office about a youth loan. After receiving the loan, each purchased a market steer to show in 4-H shows in the area and the nearby county fair. Their plan is to market and sell the steers this summer and save the profit for college. Rebecca’s father, Wade Hatcher, is sponsoring both steers at his farm. Read more »