Earlier this month, all Mississippi agencies and staff were invited to participate in USDA’s Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service by volunteering two hours of their time to a non-profit organization of their choice. Three USDA Rural Development Mississippi State Office employees, Jennifer Jimerson, Ericka Butler, and Michelle Wilkerson volunteered at Stewpot Community Services in Jackson, serving meals for lunch.
The very heart of Stewpot is the noon meal its staff and volunteers serve each day of the year. This meal serves as the center of each day as well as the heart of the Stewpot philosophy. Rich and poor, black and white … all God’s children come together over a nourishing meal. More than 120 people a day are physically and spiritually fed in the community kitchen and 50 meals are delivered to shut-ins in the area. Volunteers are always needed to lend a hand in the Stewpot Community Kitchen. Read more »
Variano Suarez (right) worked with NRCS Supervisory District Conservationist Kelvin Jackson and other staff members to plant native legumes on his land, providing food and shelter for dove and other wildlife.
Variano “Chino” Suarez manages four restaurants in Mississippi. You could say that he appreciates his free time more than most. When it’s time to unwind, Suarez retreats to his forest acres in the red clay hills of eastern Mississippi. Here, wildlife thrives and ponds are filled with bream and bass. Read more »
Ron Farris, landowner, and NRCS employee Danette Cross look over his conservation plan.
In southern Illinois, along the Mississippi River, you can see a diverse landscape of woodlands, open wild areas and farmland. But that wasn’t the case about 20 years ago, after the Great Flood of 1993 ravaged the area. That summer, all of these ecosystems resembled a moonscape with most of the vegetation removed. Read more »
A tailwater recovery stems traps and circulates water around fields, which conserves water while preventing runoff of sediments and nutrients into nearby natural waterways.
Farmers and ranchers who use conservation practices on their land help clean water and air. Their operations are more efficient, and they promote the wise use of natural resources. Read more »
Late last month Mississippi USDA Rural Development State Director Trina George attended the Kilmichael Clinic opening ceremony. The event celebrated the clinic’s completion and provided opportunities to tour the new facility. There was a great turnout and everyone was thrilled to see the new building, which has nine examination rooms and a waiting room to accommodate 40 people.
The Kilmichael project received a $1.4 million loan from USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program in 2009. The Community Facility loan was obtained to construct a new clinic to provide health care services for the citizens of the Town of Kilmichael, Montgomery County, and the surrounding rural communities. “Kilmichael Hospital has been serving this community for decades,” said State Director George. “So when the opportunity came to award funding to construct a new healthcare clinic, I knew this would be a great service to this community and to this organization.” Read more »
Students at Woolmarket Elementary have transformed a vacant courtyard into a nucleus of plant activity, ranging from cabbages to coastal grasses.
When horticulturist Christine Coker first learned of the People’s Garden Initiative, she searched for a registered garden in her coastal Mississippi community.
Secretary Vilsack began the People’s Garden Initiative—the name references President Lincoln’s description of USDA as the “People’s Department”—in 2009 as an effort to challenge employees to create gardens at USDA facilities. It has since grown into a collaborative effort of over 700 local and national organizations all working together to establish community and school gardens across the country. Read more »