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Posts tagged: Grant

Recovery Act Funding from USDA Assists in Health Care Training in Georgia

Three patient simulation dummies – an adult, a child, and an infant – are now available for students to practice on at Heart of Georgia Technical College in Dublin, thanks to USDA funding provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Read more »

USDA Recovery Act Funding Improves Water Quality in a Nebraska Community

USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, staff and the residents of  Stromsburg celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day recently with the announcement of more than $2.2 million in planned improvements to the City’s municipal water system.  The improvements will bring the system, serving more than 500 users, into compliance with new Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.  Special recognition was given to those who were instrumental to the project as they each signed a segment of water pipe. Read more »

Earth Day in North Dakota Celebrated with School Children and Tree Planting

Written by Jane Grant, Public Information Officer

The spirit of the first Earth Day, 40 years ago, continued this year in Finley as North Dakota Rural Development State Director Jasper Schneider joined Rural Utilities Representative John Padalino, Finley Mayor Larry Amundson, local leaders, and Finley school children and the community to celebrate the announcement of a water and environmental project totaling $1.7 million.

“USDA Rural Development is proud to be a partner in this project helping the city of Finley build and upgrade essential infrastructure demonstrating President Obama’s continued efforts to improve the quality of life for rural residents,” State Director Schneider said.

Manholes, sewer mains and sewer lines will be replaced, improving water quality for Finley residents.

The school children played a major role in celebrating Earth Day starting with Boy Scouts presenting  the colors and the students leading the Pledge of Allegiance.  They shared their ideas and rapped a song about how each person can play a role in creating a cleaner, healthier planet.  To demonstrate their commitment to the planet, the students walked back to school picking up trash along the way.

An American Linden tree was planted in Centennial Park, to serve as a reminder of Earth Day 2010.

North Dakota Rural Development State Director Jasper Schneider (left) shovels during a tree planting ceremony celebrating Earth Day 2010, in Finley, ND. Assisting are Finley Mayor Larry Amundson (center) and Special Assistant for Rural Utilities John Padalino (right).

North Dakota Rural Development State Director Jasper Schneider (left) shovels during a tree planting ceremony celebrating Earth Day 2010, in Finley, ND. Assisting are Finley Mayor Larry Amundson (center) and Special Assistant for Rural Utilities John Padalino (right). 

USDA Forest Service Employees Partner with Non-Profits in their Vallejo, CA Community (Blog readers can help us win a grant from Nature’s Path Organic Foods!)

By Amanda Cundiff, Forest Service Region 5 Partnership Coordinator and Lara Polansky, Forest Service Presidential Management FellowIn Vallejo, California, on a decommissioned Naval Shipyard called Mare Island, something good has emerged from hard times: a new community coalition to build and sustain a city garden. Home to over 110,000 individuals, Vallejo is known for being diverse, depressed, crime-ridden, and bankrupt. Since the Naval Shipyard closed and the recession hit, Vallejo has struggled with poverty, stretched city services, and troubled schools. Crime and poverty are high, and, perhaps as a result, Vallejo is a quintessential food desert.

Our coalition envisions a People’s Garden for Vallejo. The Garden will provide fresh produce to low-income residents and teach sustainable gardening practices. Coalition members each bring something vital to the project: volunteers to build and maintain the garden, low-income clients to benefit from vegetables and fresh eggs, and students to learn about nutrition and food production through action.

The lead partners in the Vallejo People’s Garden are:

Global Center for Success (www.globalcenterforsuccess.org) is a 501(c)(3) on Mare Island that provides supportive human services and programs to the homeless and needy. GCS is excited to start a garden right in its backyard to serve as an outdoor classroom, a community hub, and a source of free organic produce for its clients.

The Regional Office of the USDA Forest Service, located on Mare Island, employs over 200 people. The Forest Service will contribute volunteers and (eventually) land for a second garden. The convenient location of the Vallejo People’s Garden will provide an opportunity for employees to meet and work alongside our neighbors and have a healthy place to volunteer during lunch breaks and after work.

Betty Frank Senior Lunch Program is a 501(c)(3) feeding program that serves lunch daily in a community center, about 10 minutes from Mare Island in Vallejo. The coalition plans to provide fresh produce to this senior center’s kitchen and to arrange visits for seniors to tour and even volunteer in the garden. The drawn plans for the garden include handicapped-accessible raised beds that will be easy for seniors to reach. Additionally, teachers at Mare Island Elementary School across the street from the future garden site are excited about bringing students over for lessons in food production and nutrition.

Landscape Plan for garden site at the Global Center for Success site in Vallejo, CA, one mile from the USDA Forest Service Regional OfficeLandscape Plan for garden site at the Global Center for Success site in Vallejo, CA, one mile from the USDA Forest Service Regional Office

To jump start these “shovel ready” projects, the Forest Service Region 5 Regional Office is competing for a grant from Nature’s Path Organics.  A Nature’s Path grant would provide funds to purchase the materials, tools, and lumber to build raised beds, compost bins, a chicken house, bee hive, fencing, educational signs, rain barrels, and storage shed.

To VOTE for the “Vallejo People’s Garden”:

1.      1. Go to  http://www.justmeans.com/contestidea?ideaid=NDUz  and click on “VOTE”

2.      2. Create an account by giving your name, personal email address (Forest Service email address won’t work), and making up a password

3.      3. Check your email and click on the link to activate your account.    You are now done voting for us! 

Bonus points:  You can add a message of support in the comment box.

Your votes and comments are the only way for us to demonstrate support for this project and convince Nature’s Path Organic to fund this project.    The deadline for votes is May 31.

The site of a future People’s Garden behind the Global Center for Success in Vallejo, CA.   Volunteers cleared and mulched the site in fall 2009, but now the site is ready for a burst of new volunteer energy and a seed grant from Nature’s Path Organic Foods.   Across the street, students at Mare Island Elementary School are walking from their bus to the school’s entrance.   Students and teachers will be an important partner and beneficiary of the garden project.The site of a future People’s Garden behind the Global Center for Success in Vallejo, CA.   Volunteers cleared and mulched the site in fall 2009, but now the site is ready for a burst of new volunteer energy and a seed grant from Nature’s Path Organic Foods.   Across the street, students at Mare Island Elementary School are walking from their bus to the school’s entrance.   Students and teachers will be an important partner and beneficiary of the garden project.

USDA Water Program Funds Assist a Mississippi Community

Last month, Mississippi Rural Development State Director Trina George organized an event in the town of Leland which spotlighted a loan and grant combination awarded to Black Bayou Water Association. Read more »

The First USDA People’s Garden in South Florida

By Ana Maria Silva, USDA Marketing Intern

Florida International University’s Organic Garden gained recognition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the People’s Garden Initiative. FIU is a student-centered urban public research university that is locally and globally engaged.

Both the organic garden and FIU’s agro-ecology program was founded in 2005 by FIU professors Mahadev Bhat and Krish and funded by USDA educational grants. Once a week students from the agro-ecology program and the garden club meet to work at the garden and search for ways to reduce waste and conserve energy. Not only is the garden open to all FIU students, it is also open to teachers and students from other schools for research and educational purposes.

According to students, the garden uses little or no synthetic soil or pesticides. We always look for organic solutions,” said Andrew Jungman, a senior majoring in environmental studies. “We squeeze caterpillars’ guts onto plants to deter insects, and we feed compost like orange peels to worms to use their poop or castings to create a very rich soil.” They also conserve water and fertilizer by using a drip irrigation system that lets water drip slowly to the root of the plant. In addition, the garden features a meditation section surrounded by edible plants like basil and lemon balm.

FIU students are very committed to making the organic garden a model for other urban institutions of higher education, “said Vladimir Diaz with the USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program. “The community will greatly benefit from this environmentally friendly initiative.”  The FIU Organic Garden is the first USDA People’s Garden on any university in South Florida.

In 2009, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack created an initiative to recognize community gardens that promote sustainable, healthy and local community food production in the country. In order to qualify, the garden must be a collaborative effort between volunteers within the community and gardeners. It must create spaces that the public can use and employ practices that nurture, maintain and protect the environment.

 Students at Florida International University’s Organic Garden

Students at Florida International University’s Organic Garden