It’s not hard to list our accomplishments here at USDA: After all, our progress on the much anticipated 2014 Farm Bill has been lauded as “the most successful Farm Bill implementation.” We also launched a website for New Farmers and started a conversation with women in agriculture that will continue to grow for many years to come.
What is sometimes less obvious is the people whose lives these programs and initiatives impact. So, to wrap up the year, I wanted to share a few of my most cherished memories from my first year as Deputy Secretary. Read more »
From the White House Champions of Change blog:
In the field of agriculture, we have a very important question to ask ourselves: who will the next generation of farmers and ranchers be?
For more than three decades, the share of farms operated by beginning farmers has been in decline. Beginning farms and ranches accounted for 22 percent of the nation’s 2 million family farms and ranches in 2012—down from about 35 percent in 1982. Consistent with this trend, the average age of principal farm operators in the United States has risen in that period, from 51 to 58.
Since day one, the Obama Administration has supported opportunities for people who want to work the land and produce food, fuel, and fiber for our country. The Administration continues to make these critical investments because of the great innovation and promise that agriculture holds. Read more »
Sonia Kendrick, who founded Feed Iowa First, a non-profit organization in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was among a small group of local leaders across the nation recognized by the White House recently as “Women Veteran Leader Champions of Change.” The event on March 25 honored women veterans, highlighting their incredible contributions to the country’s business, public and community-service sectors.
Kendrick served in Afghanistan and upon her return was drawn to fighting hunger issues in Iowa through locally-grown food. By identifying available land around churches and other sites in the Cedar Rapids area and securing access to it, she and other volunteers have grown, harvested and donated thousands of pounds of fresh produce to local food pantries and the Meals on Wheels program. Read more »
Earlier today, I had the pleasure of congratulating 11 extraordinary individuals being recognized through the White House Champions of Change program for their work to tackle hunger in the United States and abroad.
The Champions recognized today are making improved access to healthy food a reality for millions of individuals in need. Innovative programs like the Community Food Advocates in New York City, Parents United for Healthy Schools/Padres Unidos para Escuelas Saludables in Chicago, and the Mandela Marketplace in Oakland, California are helping to empower families and communities and reducing the depth and severity of hunger in America. And the work of organizations like Thriive, Fort Valley State University College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, and Catholic Medical Mission Board are taking on the fight against hunger worldwide. Read more »
President Obama and I know that today’s young people are critical to winning America’s future. From passing on the long-held traditions and values of American agriculture, to helping Americans live healthier lives by supporting the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move’ initiative, 4-H and FFA members are truly making a difference.
This September, the White House will welcome 4-H and FFA members from around the country to Washington for a day of discussion on their work, and the future of American agriculture.
In addition, the White House will honor 12 Champions of Change- 4-H and FFA members who are helping America win the future with unique projects that move their communities forward. Read more »
Hunger is an issue that touches the lives of people all around us. Whether it’s the single mother struggling to feed her family of four while simultaneously making ends meet or a person living in rural America who has to drive 50 miles to the closest grocery store, hunger affects us all.
That is why I am calling upon all community leaders who have committed themselves to ending this struggle to apply to the “White House Champions of Change: Alleviating Hunger at Home and Abroad” program. The purpose of this program is to recognize individuals who are using innovative community-based approaches to reduce hunger and ensure that people have access to enough food both in the United States and internationally. Read more »