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Posts tagged: Natural Resources Conservation Service

Harnessing NRCS Programs to Support Local and Regional Food Systems

When we launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative,  I asked each agency to take a realistic look at their programs for opportunities to better support farmers trying to access local and regional markets.  Since then, we have been excited to be able to share details and concrete examples on how programs in our Rural Development and Research, Education, and Economics mission areas and the Farm Service Agency and Agricultural Marketing Service are able to do so. Read more »

Conservation Partnership Helps Family Farm Thrive

After partnering with government at the municipal, state and federal levels, Bushy Hill Orchard is thriving.

Allen and Becky Clark have been farming for 17 years. When they started their small business, they grew flowers, pumpkins and corn stalks. Four years ago, they began raising goats for milk and cheese and eventually started making soap as well. The Clarks had long wanted to expand their farm but couldn’t afford the high cost of land. But thanks in part to the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), they recently realized their dream.  Read more »

Know Your Sooner, Know Your Food

Glynis Coleman and her son sell peppers and berries at a KYF2 Conference at the Kerr Center in Oklahoma.

Larry Wright leaned to his right and said, “I just realized that when I was up there introducing the conference, I forgot to tell everyone who I was.”Larry is the Oklahoma area coordinator for the Great Plains Resource Conservation and Development’s (RC&D) and worked tirelessly for five months planning a conference that would help build the rural communities his council serves.  After his first Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Conference and Gala more than 250 attendees know exactly what Larry does, and will be telling their friends about him, too. Read more »

The People’s Garden First Honey Harvest: Part 3

This story has three parts. Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here.

For an hour or so, that’s how it went: on one side of the roof, I smoked the bees and removed capped frames, volunteers ran the capped frames over to the extractor on the other side of the roof, and the extractor team spun the honey out of the trays with the hand-cranked extractor. The centrifuged honey slid down the sides of the extractor into a sweet puddle at the bottom of the metal barrel. Everyone had a turn spinning the extractor (and maybe sneaking a taste of the fresh honey; but I can’t say for sure—I was on the other side of the roof). 

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The People’s Garden First Honey Harvest: Part 2

This story has three parts. Read Part 1 here. Stay tuned for Part 3 later.

The hive is basically a stack of wooden boxes. Within each box a series of frames rest vertically. Each frame is about an inch thick and has built-in cells. The cells are where the bees place the nectar they’ve taken from flowers while foraging. As the water evaporates from the nectar, it becomes thicker, turning into honey. When the bees cap the full cells with wax, the frames are ready for us to harvest. (The bees flying in and out of the rooftop hive use an entrance in the side of the bottom-most box, so we’re able to remove frames from the top without stopping the work of the hive.)

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The People’s Garden First Honey Harvest: Part 1

This story has three parts. Please look for the next two parts over the next two days.

July 15 was one of the most exciting days I’ve experienced in my short time as co-beekeeper for the USDA People’s Garden. It was hot, humid, and hazy that morning, when I—together with seven partners and volunteers—went up to the roof of the USDA headquarters building, just off the National Mall, to harvest the first batch of honey ever produced by the USDA People’s Garden beehive. Read more »