A crew from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians takes care of crops inside a high tunnel constructed with Community Food Projects (CFP) funds. CFP grants help local communities take control over their local food supply. (Photo courtesy of John Hendrix)
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
For thousands of years Native Americans thrived in self-sustaining communities. Now, many have to make do with whatever food and basic goods can be hauled in by truck.
“The Oglala Lakota people thrived for centuries as a self-sustaining community. They utilized the bounty of their local environment to provide food and shelter,” said Nick Hernandez, Community Food Project director at South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. “In modern times, 95 percent of food and basic goods are hauled onto the Oglala Lakota Nation, perpetuating a phenomenon known as a ‘food desert’.” Read more »
Users of ERS’s Food Access Research Atlas can opt to view low-income census tracts (shaded in gold and in light blue) in a selected area of the country. The gold-shading indicates low-income tracts where a substantial number or portion of residents live at least 0.5 mile from a supermarket in urban areas or at least 10 miles in rural areas. (Central Connecticut)
Access to stores that carry healthy, affordable food can play an important role in people’s nutrition and overall health. Ensuring access to healthy food is a priority for USDA and a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. Read more »
Ford’s Food Center - Winnsboro Pictured from left are: Quinon and Gretchen Ford, the owner's of Ford's Fine Food, admiring the affordable cabbage for sale at 39 cents each that was grown and purchased from a local producer.
Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to travel with Jared Hicks, USDA Rural Development’s Business and Cooperative Specialist, to attend the grand opening of a new 19,500 square-foot grocery store in Winnsboro, Louisiana. It was an exciting and happy day for the community residents on the south side of Winnsboro and surrounding towns. Local residents, Chamber of Commerce representatives, and community leaders all were out to celebrate the impressive day-long opening of Ford Food Center. Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) a retailer-owned cooperative and one of the largest wholesale grocery distributors in the United States had staff on-hand to provide assistance for this occasion. Read more »
The Greensgrow Farms mobile food delivery system. With the help of an FMPP grant, Greensgrow Farms has used this truck to supply residents of the Camden/Philadelphia area with fresh, healthy, affordable foods. (Photo courtesy of Greensgrow Farms)
Every day, thousands of local farmers and ranchers work hard to ensure that their communities have access to a diverse range of fresh, healthy affordable foods. While nutritious food is a cornerstone of society’s physical health, a vibrant community also includes sustainable economic opportunities. By funding projects that support these goals, USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program continues to make a difference for farmers at the local level. Read more »
Goats in a natural meadow. Browse and Grass Farmer Association, an independent association focused on grass-fed sheep and goats in Downing, Wisconsin, will expand their offerings to local consumers and increase training in good agricultural practices (GAP) through a project supported by USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program. (Photo courtesy browseandgrass.org.)
While most people associate farmers markets with fresh fruits and vegetables, farmers and ranchers actually bring a much more diverse range of products to the table every week. This year’s portfolio of grant recipients under the Farmers Market Promotion Program, administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), reflected that diversity in its range of projects. Among the grant recipients are several enterprises in the Midwest that overcome barriers for small livestock producers to get their healthy meat options into local markets. Read more »
Camille Gaynor, volunteer at The Garden of St. Mark's, smiles after harvesting a basket of produce to donate to her local food pantry.
Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:
Since First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent announcement of a private sector commitment to build or expand 1,500 food stores, Americans across the country have been inspired to increase their communities’ access to healthy, affordable food. Ample Harvest has risen to the First Lady’s challenge to faith and community leaders to make fresh produce available for at least 10,000 locations in America through Let’s Move!, her initiative to reverse childhood obesity. Since it began partnering with Let’s Move Faith and Communities, Ample Harvest has brought fresh produce to more than 4,000 food pantries across the country. In July, 100 new food pantries joined the movement. Read more »