Students plant hundreds of red Russian kale seedlings to be harvested for their summer CSA program. (Photo credit: Jessica Kourkounis)
One of the best parts of my job as a Farm to School Regional Lead for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is visiting schools and districts that are bringing local foods into the cafeteria and teaching students where their food comes from. And I am always particularly excited when I get to visit programs with innovative school garden components, like William Penn High School, part of Delaware’s Colonial School District.
Several years ago, William Penn went through a major restructure. Part of what came out of that process was a renewed commitment to agricultural education, and the recognition that the 117-acre William Penn Historic Farm, operated by a local land trust, could be a major asset to the school. A new agriculture “major” was established, and students took over two acres of the adjacent parcel to grow more than 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables. They also started a CSA program selling shares to teachers and community members. Read more »
Since December 2014, USDA has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (or migratory bird paths). The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections to be low. No human cases of these HPAI H5 viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada, or internationally.
Anyone who owns or works with poultry—whether on a commercial farm, in the wild, or at a hobby/backyard farm—should take proper steps to keep HPAI from spreading. The best way to protect your birds is to follow good biosecurity. Even if you are already familiar with biosecurity, now is a good time to double-check your practices. You are the best protection your birds have! Read more »
Deputy Under Secretary Ann Mills announces Farm Bill funding support to improve water quality in the Delaware River Basin. NRCS photo.
The Delaware River watershed is one of our nation’s most treasured resources. It is home to more than 7 million people and the water supply for more than 15 million in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. An historic new Farm Bill program at USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will help farmers and local leaders make investments to keep the watershed healthy and vibrant for years to come.
Secretary Vilsack recently announced the recipients of the 2014 Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) awards. This new program will invest $1.2 billion over five years in innovative, partner-driven strategies to protect air and water quality, make more efficient use of water resources, restore habitat and protect open spaces. This year’s RCPP awards nation-wide total more than $370 million dollars. Counting the dollar-for-dollar partner match, almost three quarters of a billion dollars will be invested in private land conservation through the RCPP. Read more »
Delaware agriculture doesn’t use a smaller state size as an excuse – the state ranks #1 in the value of sales per acre. Check back next week to learn more about another state from the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
The Census of Agriculture is the most complete account of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Every Thursday USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will highlight new Census data and the power of the information to shape the future of American agriculture.
The New Year is upon us and we are resuming our Census of Agriculture profile blog series. It’s fitting that Delaware is profiled first in 2015, because Delaware’s nickname is “The First State” because it was the first of the 13 original states to ratify the United States Constitution on December 7, 1787.
Although Delaware is the 2nd smallest state in the nation, its value of agricultural production exceeds that of 10 larger states. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, Delaware had 2,451 farms which produced $1.3 billion in agricultural sales. That works out to an average of $520,000 per farm and ranks Delaware #2 in the nation behind California in per farm sales! Delaware ranks #1 nationally in the value of agricultural sales per farmland acre at $2,505 and also for lima bean production. Read more »
Dunbar Elementary School students enjoying fresh, local strawberries during Delaware's Strawberry week.
The following guest blog is part of our Cafeteria Stories series, highlighting the efforts of hard working school nutrition professionals who are dedicated to making the healthy choice the easy choice at schools across the country. We thank them for sharing their stories!
By Nancy R. Mears, Supervisor of School Nutrition, Delaware
Farm to School (F2S) means different things to different people depending on where you live in the country. In Delaware, utilizing F2S to source local produce allows Laurel School District to meet the fruit and vegetable requirements of the new meal pattern outlined by federal guidelines for school meals. With a little creativity, we found these guidelines can be met with this valuable resource.
Delaware’s Farm to School Program unifies 19 school districts and assists all schools in purchasing local products. F2S is an economic benefit to Delaware farmers, as well as its economy and agricultural industry. Read more »
Pictured left to right, Jackie Haven and Angie Tagtow with Anabel Bradley and her mother, Julia Bradley. Anabel submitted the 2014 winning recipe from Iowa.
CNPP’s new Executive Director, Angela Tagtow, MS, RD, LD, closed out her first week with USDA by honoring the winners of the 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge recipe contest at the White House during the Kids’ State Dinner on July 18. Below are her impressions from the event. Read more »