By Virginia Manuel, USDA Maine Rural Development State Director
USDA Rural Development provided a Rural Business Enterprise Grant to assist the Maine Alternative Agriculture Association (MA3) to renovate the former Grange Hall in Starks into a modern facility for processing and distributing local farm products.
An open house was held on July 28th to celebrate the completion of the project, which now includes a new kitchen and cold storage facility. The association will contract with local farmers to provide farm products that will be collected, processed and distributed from the new facility. The farm products will be ‘beyond organic’ by emphasizing sound soil management as well as being pesticide free. Read more »
Written by Adam Czech USDA Minnesota Public Affairs Specialist
If Tami and Kim Bredeson have their way, Minnesota will be known as more than just the Land of 10,000 Lakes. It also will be recognized for its wineries and vineyards.
The Bredeson’s own Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria, Minn. During a special event on July 12, USDA Minnesota Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer recognized Carlos Creek for receiving a Value-Added Producer Grant. The grant will help Carlos Creek grow its customer base and increase distribution of its locally produced wines. Read more »
By Jill Lee, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Jim Hafer’s passion for teaching is second only to his savvy in leveraging opportunity. He noticed many retirements at the local power plant and coal mines and saw opportunity for his agriculture students at Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer, Mont. With funding from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), he decided to train students to fill the upcoming talent gap. Read more »
By Lori Duff, ARRA Public Affairs Specialist VT/NH
Construction is just beginning on the new Food Venture Center 2, a non-profit kitchen incubator for specialty food producers in Hardwick, Vermont – and Wednesday nearly 50 people, including Sen. Patrick Leahy and USDA Rural Development VT/NH State Director Molly Lambert, showed up to celebrate. Read more »
Last week in the north central rural community of Trenton, Missouri, I observed the true spirit of the theme of the 2010 National Home Ownership month – Protecting the Dream. It was the gathering of 150 volunteer youth from six different states representing seven churches providing labor for repairs to 15 houses. Read more »
Written by C. Jeffrey Bergeron, Acting USDA Public Information OfficerUSDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager and Maine Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel visited a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) project in Ogunquit, Maine while attending the 2010 National Association of Credit Specialists Annual Convention earlier this week.
The project was at the Meadowmere Hotel in Ogunquit, which with the aid of a USDA Rural Development REAP Grant of $49,625 was able to install a state-of-the-art commercial solar thermal hot water system to preheat a significant portion of the domestic hot water for the building.
The approximate 30 percent savings the Meadowmere Hotel will recoup in energy costs will allow the hotel to continue to sustain its business and 53 jobs. “This project is a perfect example of how Rural Development is working to help keep the Maine economy on track” said Manuel, as she and Under Secretary Tonsager visited the hotel and viewed the solar thermal system. Manuel said, “The solar thermal hot water system is a great source of clean renewable energy, and USDA Rural Development is dedicated to supporting the rural Maine economy by funding green projects like this one.”
Standing in front of the solar panels on the hotels roof are (Left to Right) Allyson Cavaretta, Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager, Owner Phillip Cavaretta, and Maine State Director Virginia Manuel. The energy saving panels were funded in part with funds from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program.