At the end of the book, “Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?” the illustration depicts children planting trees. (Illustration by Juliette Watts, U.S. Forest Service)
Some children are unaware that in order to reduce tree hazards, protect other trees, or to get wood, it is necessary to cut trees.
So the recently published book “Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?” is intended to raise awareness of the issue. The book, which primarily targets first to third grade students, also features tips for planting a new tree. Read more »
Earlier this month, I submitted a blog discussing plans to observe Native American Heritage Month in South Dakota. USDA Rural Development South Dakota staff held a Native American interactive day on November 28, which included traditional teachings, significance of the circle, meal, a game of “all my relations” and Native Pictionary. Today marks the final day of Native American Heritage Month, 2012.
Native American Heritage month is an opportunity for learning and sharing of Native American culture. USDA staff were educated on the symbolism of the circle and its relevance to the Native American people with Rural Housing Specialist Ken Lynch reading a quote from Black Elk Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux; USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks provided comments in support of this event and traditional foods included smoked white fish, salmon, herring, and fish spread. The hand smoking with native hardwoods brings out the delicate flavor of these fish. Chicken, a wild rice dish, and squash was provided by Rural Housing Technician Hetti Cekalla and her husband Leroy. Also served were Indian fried bread, vegetables, dessert and drinks. Read more »
Last month, Hurricane Sandy prevented Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan from addressing USDA employees and guests at the Open House planned for National Work & Family Month. However, she wanted to be sure to take the time to emphasize the importance of USDA’s Work/Life & Wellness programs and what they mean for employees, supervisors and managers at the Department. Read more »
USDA Rural Development (NY) Cultural Transformation Day Volunteers pose at the conclusion of a beautiful day spent working on the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy Native American Village at the New York State Fairgrounds.
This past Thursday the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s New York Cultural Transformation Day took place at the Iroquois Confederacy’s Six Nation Agricultural Society Indian Village at the New York State Fair Grounds. Things got started early as more than a dozen USDA Rural Development staff members joined with representatives from the Iroquois Confederacy Nation to build, discover and practice community relations and also to beautify the landscape. Read more »
We left the cool warehouse with sticky shoes and smelling of spoiled bananas, but also with a warm feeling for having helped the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas ensure healthy, fresh food for their clients. Hundreds of cases of bananas had been donated, but when food bank staff checked the produce it was too spoiled to be used. However, the sturdy produce boxes could be salvaged for further use, so 32 USDA volunteers from the Food and Nutrition Service Southwest Regional Office and USDA Risk Management Agency rolled up their sleeves to empty and then reassemble the boxes. This was a great opportunity for us to work together with other USDA employees and see the food bank in operation first hand. The project was part of the January 12th USDA National Day of Service honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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Puerto Rico’s agriculture has been steadily declining and imports total 85 percent of the food consumed on the island. Additionally, almost all of the $11 million per year that USDA purchases for use in Puerto Rico’s school meals are purchased from companies in the continental United States. What’s more, each year the island’s School Food Authority purchases about $80 million in food to be served in school. We saw these as opportunities for local farmers and decided to do something about it.
The Market Expansion Conference, held June 23-24 in San Juan, teamed seven U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies and other Commonwealth and federal partners to show over 250 farmers how to sell food to local schools, expand their businesses and increase their participation in USDA programs. Puerto Rico’s milk farmers, cattle ranchers, pineapple growers and many others eagerly listened to USDA experts explain grading and licensing, and provide information in the areas of funding and procurement. Read more »