In August I went back to school with students in Albany and Newton, Ga., to see how healthy school meals help students get their “S.W.A.G. on” and prepare for success.
In Albany, 400 Sherwood Acres Elementary Magnet School students celebrated school breakfast, many wearing S.W.A.G. t-shirts, which stands for “Students with Academic Greatness!”
Vanessa Hayes, Dougherty County Schools Director of Child Nutrition Services, explained, “We understand that good nutrition is the fuel for the educational vehicle.” Read more »
On June 9th, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service kicked off the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) — “Food That’s In When School Is Out”, in Atlanta by visiting the Marietta Community Center in Marietta, Georgia as part of USDA’s first ever National SFSP Celebration Week. The Center provided free meals and a nutrition class on the new USDA MyPlate to 50 wonderful children, as feeding kids during the summer can pose a challenge to some parents when school meals are no longer available.
Although the SFSP program is completely dedicate to helping kids during the summer, when they are most vulnerable to experiencing hunger because school is out, our participation rate on this program is only 17%, but USDA is doing everything it can to get more meals to children during the summer months. We need to be sure that every child who should be receiving a summer meal gets one because no child should ever be going hungry. Although our National School Lunch Program is serving more than 21 million children during the school year, we are only serving 3 million children through SFSP, so clearly there is still a long way to go in reaching all the children who are eligible for this program, and we need everyone’s help to pitch in. Read more »
On May 27, Vaibhavi Patankar of Woodland Hills, Calif., was named the top winner in the 2011 Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest.
What better way to celebrate wildfire prevention education than saluting a 9-year-old girl and an organization that has roots dating back to 1891. Read more »
Employees at the Stephens Federal Building in Athens, Georgia, celebrated the People’s Garden planted in April with an educational lunch session in the garden.
Deborah Callahan of USDA Rural Development and a recent graduate of Georgia’s Master Gardener program demonstrated composting and explained the function of red worms. Amanda Tedrow of Cooperative Extension Service answered questions about vegetable gardening. Kathy Peters A Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Earth Team volunteer was available to discuss plant propagation and distributing information on backyard conservation. Read more »
Recently, Evans Memorial Hospital in Claxton, Georgia, received $200,000 in Recovery Act loan and grant funds to purchase a state-of-the-art digital mammography system. “This equipment will provide better imaging and allow for more accurate diagnostics,” said Donnie Thomas, acting Georgia Rural Development state director. “Providing reliable health care is a priority in rural areas.”
Funds were provided through USDA Rural Development’s Community Facility Programs, which are designed to improve the quality of life in rural communities. The $100,000 loan is repayable at 4 percent over 10 years. “This equipment will save lives,” Thomas said. “Keeping medical equipment current can be a big expense, but the benefit far outweighs the cost.” Read more »
Several months ago, I was selected to participate in a meat processing project that took me from Great Falls, Montana to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. I went under the auspices of the Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs (CNFA) – an organization supported by USAID – to offer advice on the methods and benefits of meat processing technology, as well as basic food safety skills. Early on in my visit, I came to understand the rich history and culture of this nation, which leant a heavy influence over their methods and approaches toward meat processing – the ax and chopping-block method of cutting meat stuck out as a preferred taste for Georgians. This is not a criticism, rather a tip-of-the-hat to their cultural awareness. Read more »