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Posts tagged: Massachusetts

Active Living by Design Helps Get Communities Moving

The mobile market delivering fresh produce residents of Spartanburg County, South Carolina.

The mobile market delivering fresh produce residents of Spartanburg County, South Carolina.

Three community supporters of Let’s Move are moving towards healthier lives. Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Faith and Communities initiative, these communities are leading the way in creative solutions to health issues through mobile grocery markets, convenient bicycle accommodations, and safe routes to school. These innovative ideas are brought to life through the funding and partnership of organizing group Active Living by Design. Read more »

Bellingham Team Scores Big with Double Winners

With “grate” skill, Bellingham, MA team transforms yams into Tasty Tots as part of Recipes for Healthy Kids competition.

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 »

Science from USDA, Building on Tribal Traditions

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 »

Energy Audits: Helping Farmers Save Money and Energy

The LaFlammes in their greenhouse.

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 »

Hmong Farmers Extend the Chilly Massachusetts Growing Season

A Flats Mentor Farm grower tends Asian crops growing in a high tunnel put in place with NRCS assistance.

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 »

Rural Business Administrator Tours Renewable Energy, Regional Food Projects in Massachusetts

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 »