Undersecretary Kevin Concannon meets with Sisters of the Holy Family, an order of nuns based in New Orleans.
When a newspaper reporter asked me recently, “What can I tell our readers about the USDA programs,” I told her: “Most of what USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service does is through others.”
As I travel throughout the country, I see how different organizations come together to carry out our mission of putting food on the table for those in need. In concert with FNS’ 15 nutrition assistance programs, hundreds of organizations are working hard every day to create the safety net against hunger that protects Americans. Without fanfare and with little public notice, coalitions of non-profits, religious organizations and groups of volunteers are often the first line of defense against hunger. Read more »
4-H campers enjoy incorporating fitness into a healthy lifestyle. Here, participants work to complete an obstacle course.
The Louisiana State 4-H Food and Fitness Camp is joining the Let’s Move! initiative to combat childhood obesity through improved nutrition and increased physical activity. As a camp for fourth and fifth graders designed and run by high school 4-H teens, the program motivates campers to eat healthier and move more. Read more »
Today I participated in event with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel to highlight the challenge of increasing access to healthy foods. It’s a conversation that I and others at USDA have had many times before. From small towns to big cities, people are talking about how to get more fresh, healthy food into their communities. Everywhere I go, parents ask how and where they can get fresh fruits and vegetables for their children. Schools ask for advice on sourcing healthier food for school meals. Shoppers ask where they can buy healthy foods in their neighborhoods.
According to the Institute of Medicine, 1 in 3 children and 2 out of 3 adults are overweight or obese. The percentage of obese adults in the United States is expected to reach 42 percent by 2030. More than 20 million Americans have diabetes, and 79 million are pre-diabetic. Our nation’s children may be the first American generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents’, due in large part to obesity-related diseases . In addition, the economic costs of obesity and related chronic health issues are staggering at an estimated $147 billion per year in direct costs, and billions more if indirect costs such as lost productivity are included. Read more »
Ford’s Food Center - Winnsboro Pictured from left are: Quinon and Gretchen Ford, the owner's of Ford's Fine Food, admiring the affordable cabbage for sale at 39 cents each that was grown and purchased from a local producer.
Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to travel with Jared Hicks, USDA Rural Development’s Business and Cooperative Specialist, to attend the grand opening of a new 19,500 square-foot grocery store in Winnsboro, Louisiana. It was an exciting and happy day for the community residents on the south side of Winnsboro and surrounding towns. Local residents, Chamber of Commerce representatives, and community leaders all were out to celebrate the impressive day-long opening of Ford Food Center. Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) a retailer-owned cooperative and one of the largest wholesale grocery distributors in the United States had staff on-hand to provide assistance for this occasion. Read more »
April 16, 2012, was a memorable day for Willie F. Cooper, state executive director (SED) for the Louisiana Farm Service Agency. Yesterday marked 40 years as SED for FSA and the former Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS). In August, Cooper will celebrate 55 years of total service to USDA. Prior to his appointment, Cooper had worked as a field reporter, county office trainee, county executive director, county office reviewer, assistant administrative chief and chief of the Administrative Division. Recently, he provided some thoughts and memories on his tenure.
Willie F. Cooper, state executive director (SED) for the Louisiana Farm Service Agency
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Forest to Final Four Floor. Photo by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Staff
It’s time for the NCAA Men’s Final Four — and all eyes are usually glued to the action on the court. But this year special attention is being paid to the actual court itself.
This ‘Court of Champions’ comes from the Menominee Forest and Menominee Tribal Enterprises in Wisconsin. It all began with a maple tree which provided the amazing physical properties that are perfect for the court. The wood is beautiful, tough and does not splinter or sliver. Read more »