What do Tristan Reader of Tohono O’odham Community Action (TOCA), Amy Bacigalupo of the Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota, Haile Johnston of Common Market in Philadelphia and Michael Todd’s environmental studies class at Ames High School in Ames, IA have in common? They’re all building connections between farms and consumers and creating strong local food systems in their communities. And all joined me for a Google+ Hangout – a live, virtual panel – on Thursday, November 21 to discuss their work.
There is amazing energy surrounding the development of local food systems in communities nationwide, and our discussion certainly reflected that. But it also came at a time of uncertainty. Congress has yet to pass a Food, Farm and Jobs bill, the major piece of legislation funding USDA’s local food efforts (along with many other critical programs). Until a bill is passed, many of the key resources for producers, businesses and communities engaged in local food systems are without funding. That reality lent a sense of urgency to some of the topics we discussed. Read more »
USDA stands ready to aid and assist America’s farmers and ranchers who want to participate in this growing sector. We’ve been coordinating our work via the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative. However, our ability to continue supporting the local and regional food marketplace is at stake without the passage of a Food, Farms and Job Bill. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) StrikeForce Initiative Director Max Finberg listen to StrikeForce Initiative Beneficiary Colorado farmer Carol Baker Olguin discuss the benefits she and her family received through the USDA StrikeForce program during a Google+ Hangout at USDA in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Jun. 17, 2013.
Every day, USDA provides assistance to help grow American agriculture and increase opportunities for rural communities. Unfortunately, 90 percent of America’s persistent poverty counties are in rural America.
Earlier this year, we launched the StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity, which targets rural areas of persistent poverty where USDA staff work with state, local and community officials to increase awareness of programs, target resources and leverage partnerships to promote economic development and job creation. The initiative is now operating in sixteen states in the Southeast, Southwest, Great Plains and Alaska. As I travel the country, I am heartened to learn of the impact StrikeForce programs have had in these communities and hear stories from the people who have benefitted. Read more »
On Monday, Jun. 17, 2013, you are invited to join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as he sits down to his very first Google+ Hangout to discuss opportunities available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity.
Are you a community-based organization or farmer in a rural community that faces persistent poverty, or just someone who wants to improve life in Rural America? Do you have questions on how you can partner with USDA to take advantage of community resources and promote economic development in your community?
On Monday, June 17, you are invited to join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as he sits down to his very first Google+ Hangout to discuss opportunities available through USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity. The Secretary will discuss USDA’s work to date and how YOUR community can get involved. We’ve assembled a panel of experts with different perspectives to help provide guidance and best practices for partnering with USDA – whether you want to apply for programs and services, or want to help communities and individuals benefit from available assistance. Read more »
In the four years I’ve served as Deputy Secretary, I’ve talked with thousands of women in agriculture – from young women thinking about entering farming to older women who have been tilling the soil for decades. Each of their stories is powerful on its own. But taken together, they have been an inspiration to the entire country. And today, we know that there are nearly one million of these stories around the country – nearly one million women farming and ranching on America’s working lands.
A study released today by USDA’s Economic Research Service, Characteristics of Women Farm Operators and Their Farms found that the number of women-operated farms more than doubled between 1982 and 2007. When all women involved with farming are added up – including primary and secondary operators – they are nearly one million strong and account for 30% of U.S. farmers. Read more »
USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and White House Director of Public Engagement Jon Carson in a live Google+ Hangout
What’s the common link between eastern Oregon rancher Cory Carman, Oklahoma Farm to School Coordinator Chris Kirby, New Mexico Food Policy Council leader Pamela Roy, Muckleshoot Tribal member Valerie Segrest, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and Sue Noble, Director of Wisconsin’s Vernon Economic Development Association? Read more »