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Posts tagged: International

Laughing All the Way to the Seed Bank

Mahogany seeds, one of the species the Dominican Republic is trying to reforest.  (Photo courtesy of Toby Bloom, U.S. Forest Service)

Mahogany seeds, one of the species the Dominican Republic is trying to reforest. (Photo courtesy of Toby Bloom, U.S. Forest Service)

Everyone wants to have a full bank account — including bank accounts that hold seeds.

The U.S. Forest Service recently held a workshop with the Dominican Republic Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources in Dry Branch, Ga., focusing on ways to increase the capacity to develop and maintain a seed bank for reforestation in the Dominican Republic.

The workshop discussed methods and approaches to compiling the seeds and best practices for preservation.  The workshop included seed biology and procedures that contribute towards the success of the bank.  Dry Branch is the home of the USFS National Seed Laboratory. Participants of the workshop will manage the Nigua Seed Bank in the Dominican Republic.  Official protocols for seed purity throughout the Dominican Republic were drafted for the new seed bank based on workshop outcomes.

Technical expertise was provided by the Forest Service with the help of an agreement with the US Agency for International Development.  Through the agreement, the Forest Service aids in equipment administration as well as the training of staff and facility management.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Dominican Republic enacted the Forestry Action Plan in 1991 that established the goal of becoming a self-sufficient timber and fuelwood producer by 2016.  The seed laboratory work will contribute to the achievement of this goal and the forestry improvements that the nation plans to make towards reforestation.

In November, an unprecedented Presidential Decree was passed to solidify the Government’s commitment to biological diversity and protected area habitat conservation.  The seed bank workshop contributed to these goals.

For more information on these and other projects, take a look at the U.S. Forest Service International Programs website.

People’s Garden Helps to Strengthen a Community in Costa Rica

Sara Roy and her son, Malachi, enjoy working together in the garden.

Sara Roy and her son, Malachi, enjoy working together in the garden.

The Foreign Agricultural Service office in San Jose broke ground on its own People’s Garden in Fall 2009. Ever since that day our embassy employees and their families, as well as members of the local community, have learned about the benefits of eating fresh, healthy foods. Read more »

Protecting Natural Resources Impacted by Tourism in Chile

The sunrise over Lago Cucao with Chiloe National Park on the left shoulder of the slopes in background.  Photo courtesy of Michael Olwyler.

The sunrise over Lago Cucao with Chiloe National Park on the left shoulder of the slopes in background. Photo courtesy of Michael Olwyler.

Patagonia, Chile is known for its spectacular views, amazing scenery and great fly fishing.  The area attracts 2 million tourists annually. But only 20 percent of Chile’s natural resources are protected.  Chilean stakeholders recently partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and the State Department to develop tourism in concert with land management practices. Read more »

Russia Christmas Fair Highlights American Holiday Treats

The United States pavilion at the St. Petersburg Christmas Fair showcased American holiday treats. (Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Moscow)

The United States pavilion at the St. Petersburg Christmas Fair showcased American holiday treats. (Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Moscow)

The Agricultural Trade Office in St. Petersburg, Russia joined U.S. cooperators and the U.S. Consulate to host the first-ever American pavilion at the St. Petersburg Christmas Fair, which runs from Dec. 21, 2011 to Jan. 14, 2012. The pavilion showcases American cuisine including New York cheesecakes, Kona coffee, California almonds and American holiday treats. Read more »

Hawaii’s Big Island Flavor Steams into the Canadian Market

The company prides itself on handpicking all of its coffee cherries. (Photo credit: Hawaii Exports International)

The company prides itself on handpicking all of its coffee cherries. (Photo credit: Hawaii Exports International)

Hawaii Exports International (HEI) of Honolulu has successfully introduced its award-winning Kona and Ka’u coffees to the Canadian market with the support of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Canada, the FAS-funded Western U.S. Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA), and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA). Read more »

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Encourages Students in Vietnam to Build a Better Future

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (right) speaking at Hanoi University of Agriculture, Hanoi, Vietnem on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (right) speaking at Hanoi University of Agriculture, Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.

There are many things that Americans are known for, including dreaming big, working hard to turn those dreams into a reality, and reaching out to help others who are also trying to make their dreams come true. During his trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, earlier this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack—whose own personal story and history of public service epitomizes these very characteristics—challenged a packed auditorium of more than 600 students and faculty at the Hanoi University of Agriculture (HUA) to be the generation whose dreams transform their communities, their country and their world. Read more »