With “grate” skill, Bellingham, MA team transforms yams into Tasty Tots as part of Recipes for Healthy Kids competition.
Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:
Students at Bellingham (MA) Public Schools found the key to attracting some top individuals to their school for lunch: they asked a state senator, state representative, a food industry executive, the state Child Nutrition director and me to judge the school’s entries in the national Recipes for Healthy Kids competition. The school had much to be proud of because their terrific team created not one, but two semi-finalist recipes: “Tasty Tots” and “Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.” Read more »
Recently, I visited Tohono O’odham Community College, in Sells, AZ, one of the tribal colleges that the Department of Agriculture supports around the country to level the playing field and open the doors of higher education to more young people. The Tohono O’odham or “Desert People” live in the Sonoran Desert on tribal lands in the southern part of the state, bordering Mexico. The terrain is flat, dry desert and presents numerous agricultural challenges that USDA helps students address through research and hands-on training, teaching traditional scientific disciplines – but through the lens of the tribe’s needs and culture.
The college is doing a lot of work to keep their tribal language alive, providing language classes for all students. But science professor Dr. Teresa Newberry has taken that to a whole new level by building a Web-based database of plants that is built in three languages: English, Latin and Tohono O’odham. It’s the kind of project that integrates the native culture into learning in a practical, living way. Read more »
The LaFlammes in their greenhouse.
This winter, I had the opportunity to see an energy audit on a family farm near Amherst, Mass. Bruce LaFlamme and his son, Phil, had requested the audit to help them find ways to conserve heat and better insulate their greenhouse, where they grow vegetables year-round, as well as other plants during certain seasons. Read more »
A Flats Mentor Farm grower tends Asian crops growing in a high tunnel put in place with NRCS assistance.
The near-record snowfall in Massachusetts this winter did not deter farmer Pa Thao. In fact, it strengthened his resolve to make sure that nothing happened to the high tunnel that he put up last fall, so that it would be there when he’s ready to plant mustard greens and pea tendrils in the early spring. Every day Thao, who is from Laos, in tropical Southeast Asia, trudged across the frozen field with a shovel to clear snow away from the structure. Read more »
USDA Rural Business Administrator Judy Canales joined State Director Jay Healy recently for discussions about, and tours of, three Rural Development financed projects currently underway in Massachusetts. Their first stop was at Berkshire East Ski Area in Charlemont, where the Administrator led a roundtable discussion about USDA’s renewable energy initiatives and celebrated the installation of a new, 900kW wind turbine at the ski area.
Rural Development provided Berkshire East a loan guarantee through its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The funds were used, in conjunction with commercial financing through Greenfield Savings Bank and State Clean Energy Center grants, to purchase and install the wind turbine at the family-owned ski area. Read more »
USDA Forest Service Smokejumpers are trained to climb trees in case they, or their supplies, land in them. When Smokejumpers aren’t fighting wildfires, the USDA Forest Service calls on them to use their tree climbing skills to complete a variety of natural resource management projects, such as harvesting pine cones and constructing owl nesting boxes.
While many USDA Forest Service employees spend their summers working as Smokejumpers fighting wildfires in the west, they in turn spend their falls in the east working as Beetle Busters, helping the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) combat the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). Read more »