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Posts tagged: Ed Avalos

The Faces of Agriculture – A Glimpse of What the Farm Bill Means to Our Nation

Under Secretary Edward Avalos and John Lyman III, owner of Lyman Orchards, tour the orchard’s Apple Barrel Market in Middlefield, CT.  A Farm Bill is crucial to the long-term stability of family-owned farms and orchards.

Under Secretary Edward Avalos and John Lyman III, owner of Lyman Orchards, tour the orchard’s Apple Barrel Market in Middlefield, CT. A Farm Bill is crucial to the long-term stability of family-owned farms and orchards.

A life of farming—whether you grow up in it or are called to it later in life—takes a special kind of commitment and sense of responsibility. The reward is just as unique and appeals only to a handful of people who are willing to literally roll up their sleeves and work hard at a physically- and mentally-challenging job every day of the year. To me, there’s just something special about a profession where the fruits of your labor provide one of life’s most essential elements–food.

But that’s not where their contributions stop. Our nation’s farmers and ranchers strengthen our economy, with nearly one out of 12 jobs in the U.S. coming from agriculture.

Over the last year, I had the opportunity to visit and speak to farmers and ranchers across the country. During these visits, I get a chance to see first-hand how connected they are to their communities and the differences they make for the folks that live and work with them. And I also get to answer their questions directly, to hear the challenges they face and the help they could use. Inevitably, conversation turns to the Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill and what that legislation would mean to each of the farmers, ranchers, businesses and schools that depend on it. Read more »

Taking the Summer On: AMS Interns Gain Valuable Experience

AMS interns at the USDA Internship Meeting at USDA Headquarters. During their internship, they met with senior USDA officials, including AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo (first row in the center with black coat and white dress).

AMS interns at the USDA Internship Meeting at USDA Headquarters. During their internship, they met with senior USDA officials, including AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo (first row in the center with black coat and white dress).

Without farmers and the agricultural businesses that support them, no one can eat. This is a simple concept, but it implies that people will continue to choose careers in agriculture. Here at USDA, one of the ways that we encourage younger generations to choose these careers is offering grants to institutions that offer agricultural curriculums. 

Through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA enables students to expand their knowledge of the agricultural industry. NIFA provides grants to schools such as the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM) through the Hispanic Serving Institutions Program. This allows these institutions to offer top-notch agricultural curriculums. Read more »

The Spicy Story of Green Chiles

Hatch green chiles can be used in everything from potato salad to lemonade.

Hatch green chiles can be used in everything from potato salad to lemonade.

It’s no secret I love New Mexican grown green chiles.  So does Melissa’s World Variety Produce in Los Angeles, California. So much so, that during a recent trip to California, I attended a spicy workshop and reception hosted by Melissa’s, featuring New Mexican Hatch green chiles.

“When I grew up, I thought there was only one kind of chile: we just called them green.” says corporate chef Rodriguez who grew up in El Paso, Texas.

Southwesterners like Ida and I may just call them “greens”. However, the rest of the country is quickly getting to know these meaty, flavorful Hatch green chiles, named after Hatch, New Mexico, epicenter of state’s chile growing region. Read more »

A Multicultural Let’s Move! Weekend

First Lady Michelle Obama was thinking of Sam Shihadeh and Rose Fakhoury when she challenged faith-based and community organizations to appoint wellness ambassadors.  Sam, a personal trainer and council member of the Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Washington DC, and Rose, the Director of St. George’s Sunday School, joined forces to lead, organize and take action to improve health and wellness in their community.  St. George Church hosted a Let’s Move! event on May 5th to get their community members eating healthy foods, moving and working to combat childhood obesity.

As a congregation inspired to fight obesity, the church practices what it preaches.  The event kicked off with children racing through an outdoor obstacle course.  During the day attendees heard from a diverse group of panelists such as doctors, personal trainers, and a registered dietitian, on the importance of leading a healthy life.  I joined Paul Monteiro of the White House Office of Public Engagement to share more about the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. Read more »

On Cinco de Mayo Somos Uno: We’re One USDA

Welcoming visitors to our Somos Uno: We’re One USDA booth

Welcoming visitors to our Somos Uno: We’re One USDA booth

This past Saturday, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) participated in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the National Cinco de Mayo Festival® ¡Salud en Cinco de Mayo!, sponsored by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Maru Montero Dance Company.  USDA partnered with LULAC, with whom we work on the recruitment of Hispanic professionals, promoting nutrition in the community, and on the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative.

Along with other representatives of the federal government, our Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Ed Avalos, gave welcoming remarks and emphasized a message of cultural heritage and health during this celebration.  Sam Kass, White House Chef and Senior Advisor Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives for the First Lady, was also present. Read more »

A Healthy Future for Kids in the Hispanic Community

On my recent trip to Miami, Florida, I had the opportunity to hold a White House Business Council roundtable, hosted by the South Florida Hispanic chamber of Commerce.  The roundtable discussion focused on challenges and accomplishments within the Hispanic community, including access to credit, broadband, small business, agricultural markets, plant pests, and community outreach.

While in Miami I was also invited to speak at the Latino Health and Wellness Expo in Miami.  “La Exposicion de Salud” was well attended with over 800 participants. Read more »