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Posts tagged: Deputy Secretary

“Prepared in Mind and Resources” – More Than Just a State Motto

Spinach Salad with Sliced Egg, Warm Bacon Dressing and Crumbled Clemson Blue Cheese
Tilapia Filet with a Shrimp Mornay Sauce
Sweet Potato au Gratin with Goat Cheese and Apples
Rainbow Swiss Chard
Apple Cobbler with Fresh Whipped Cream

In addition to being delicious, there is one thing each of these menu items has in common – they were all made from locally provided ingredients from South Carolina and were highlight of the 2009 Agribusiness Summit hosted by the Palmetto Institute. Read more »

An Informative Farm-to-School Roundtable in St. Paul

I had the opportunity this week to participate in a roundtable discussion and tour of the St. Paul Schools’ Nutrition Services center. Joining me were local school foodservice professionals and members of the farming, distribution and non-profit community who are working to expand Farm-to-School programs in Minnesota. Read more »

Tribal Nations Gather at USDA for Open Dialogue

In celebration of American Indian Heritage Month the U.S. Department of Agriculture today reported that there are nearly 80,000 American Indian operators on 61,472 farms and ranches across the United States. This represents an 88-percent increase over the number of American Indian farmers USDA counted in 2002. Read more »

Wheat Research in Maine Rising to the Challenge

There is nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread. Now image if bread, like wine, was valued for its “terroir” – the idea that the land where the ingredients come from impart a special flavor or essence to the final product. Well that may not be a far fetched idea if you try Borealis Breads up in Portland, Maine. Read more »

USDA Celebrates Food and Nutrition at the Inaugural Fall Festival

Halloween has passed, but here in DC the fall leaves are still beautiful despite all the rain we’ve been having–and last Friday USDA had a great end of season party. Read more »

DC area USDA employees help feed hungry people in their community

Last Friday marked the final collection day for the Feds Feed Families, a government-wide summer food drive led by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Typically, summer is the slowest time for food bank donations, but the needs of hungry people stay the same throughout the year. Therefore, OPM set a goal for D.C. area federal employees to donate 1 million pounds of food over the summer to make sure that the Capital Area Food Bank, stays well stocked with food for needy people through this difficult time of year.
USDA employees throughout the D.C. metro area responded enthusiastically to this opportunity to help the less fortunate members of our local community. For example, some of the employees at USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) had a contest to see who in their office could bring in the most food. The results were amazing, with four gigantic boxes filled in the space of a few days!

FSA employees with the food they collected

As the final collection day approached, all hands were on deck to promote awareness of the event among the USDA employee community. Last week, Secretary Vilsack sent an email to all USDA employees that included a video appeal from Deputy Secretary Merrigan. On Friday morning, countless boxes full of non-perishable foods and other essential items were transported from all over USDA’s DC area buildings to loading docks to await pickup. The DC National Guard then delivered the food to the Capital Area Food Bank.

Feds feed families-loading the boxes

USDA staff was proud to do its part to make this food drive a huge success, and help out the neediest members of the Washington area community. In fact, this food drive is just one of the ways USDA employees have participated in President Obama’s United We Serve. United We Serve initiative, which calls upon all Americans to serve their communities in these difficult times. As they look toward the future, USDA employees look forward to continuing to help their fellow Americans “every day, in every way!”