Six-year-old Nathan Norman and Smokey Bear share a moment together during a Feb. 25, 2013 visit to Nathan’s home.
Six-year-old Nathan Norman counts Smokey Bear as one of his new best friends. The Rustburg, Va., boy recently met Smokey and a number of wildland firefighters and law enforcement officers from the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests as part of his hobby of reaching out to these first responders for cards and letters of support.
Nathan, diagnosed with brain cancer at 2 and with spinal cancer at 4, has spent much of his life in and out of hospitals. Read more »
The Pennsylvania Rural Development staff and the toys that were donated to local children in need through the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Toy Drive.
Rather than the traditional office name exchange this year, the Pennsylvania USDA Rural Development State Office staff added a new twist. Each employee made a list of toys they enjoyed as children. The lists were exchanged and employees purchased toys for an eight year old version of their co-worker. The wrapped toys were recently distributed at an office holiday gathering.
The staff enjoyed opening baby dolls, remote control helicopters, games and puzzles. As children, the staff may have had a difficult time handing over their new “toys” to strangers. However, smiles were all around as over 30 unwrapped toys were picked up by two uniformed Marines to be delivered to their local distribution center. Read more »
One of the many celebrations and traditions that people still practice is the burning of the yule log and singing yuletide carols. Photo courtesy of Penny Stritch.
Many holiday traditions are celebrated during the season surrounding the winter solstice, or the time when the sun is at its lowest point above the horizon.
For communities and families, plants play a central role in these traditions. Yet, most people are unaware of the origins of how plants like holly and yule logs became part of holidays and traditions. Read more »
The United States pavilion at the St. Petersburg Christmas Fair showcased American holiday treats. (Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Moscow)
The Agricultural Trade Office in St. Petersburg, Russia joined U.S. cooperators and the U.S. Consulate to host the first-ever American pavilion at the St. Petersburg Christmas Fair, which runs from Dec. 21, 2011 to Jan. 14, 2012. The pavilion showcases American cuisine including New York cheesecakes, Kona coffee, California almonds and American holiday treats. Read more »
Like millions of Americans, I will join family and friends this holiday season to share meals, conversation and to count our blessings. We’ll take a moment to thank the men and women in uniform serving our country overseas – and also those who produced the food on our tables.
During this time of celebration and good cheer, we should also look out for those less fortunate than we are. This year at USDA, we provided critical nutrition assistance to one in four Americans during a time of record need. But our work only goes so far. That is why I want to encourage Americans to help fight hunger and poverty and to support those struggling to feed themselves and their families. Read more »
If you are looking to give a thoughtful, healthy gift this holiday season, citrus is the way to go. But beware of infected citrus fruit and plants, especially if you plan to buy citrus online.
Before you give citrus, here are four things you should know: Read more »