Tomatoes on the vine in Hopewell, NJ. The Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) is a grant program designed to support research projects that improve the marketing, distribution and transportation of agriculture products locally and internationally. Photo by Nosha
In 2010, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture developed a plan to help local growers find new opportunities to bring their fresh, healthy food to consumers and markets within the state. They partnered with Rutgers University’s Food Innovation Center and the New Jersey Department of Family and Community Health Sciences to create healthy recipes from locally grown ingredients that were also tasty and affordable options for school menus. Read more »
U. S. Representative Rush Holt (left) and USDA Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Pat Dombroski mingle with proud children showing off their school garden before tasting an eatable flower grown just a few feet away.
How does one turn a cold, miserable rainy day in late October into one as bright and warm as a sunny day in June? Just visit a local elementary school where students and teachers and community volunteers are all so excited about the bountiful garden out back behind the school. A magical place where young minds learn about growing healthy foods, about earthworms and soil, about cover crops and harvesting, about composting and frost dates, and about how tasty that strange looking vegetable with the funny name is . . . the one they started to grow from seedlings last school year. Read more »
Some people dream about visiting the sandy beaches of Hawaii. But New Jersey native Ruth D’Amico always dreamed of exploring the mountains and oceans of Alaska.
The U.S. Forest Service fisheries biologist was always curious about nature and hoped to one day feed this love for wonder in Alaska. Hailing from a small town, D’Amico lived nowhere near a national forest and yearned to be around Alaska’s mountains that she read about as a child. Little did she know that she would one day call those Alaskan mountains home. Read more »
Today, Secretary Vilsack announced that, during the month of July, USDA employees donated more than 270,000 pounds of canned goods and fresh produce to feed families across the country as part of the Feds Feed Families food drive! That means USDA employees have worked together to donate more than 370,000 pounds of food in just two months. With more than 1,800 USDA offices throughout the country participating, here are a few examples of how USDA employees are contributing to the Feds Feed Families campaign.
So far this August, a USDA Service Center in Tipton, Iowa, has harvested 165 pounds of beets, 500 pounds of sweet corn, 140 pounds of green beans, 270 pounds of tomatoes, and 30 pounds of zucchini from their People’s Garden to benefit Feds Feed Families. And that’s in addition to the canned goods that they are collecting! Their hard work was highlighted on the local CBS news affiliate, KCRG-TV, which you can view here. Read more »
Mihai, Mihaiela, and Sabina Giurca in front of their new USDA-financed home in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey
A few years ago, Mihai & Mihaiela Giurca reluctantly left both their native land of Romania to start fresh in New Jersey. In 2007 they became permanent residents and moved to a one bedroom apartment in Atlantic City. Both worked diligently to learn the language and obtain steady employment in the casino industry. Read more »
Recently I attended a dedication ceremony along with members of my staff held at the Sussex County Charter School for Technology in the New Jersey community of Sparta. Also in attendance for the dedication were local and school officials as well as Real Estate Advisory Development Services (READS).
This Charter School received funding through USDA’s Community Facilities Program and the result was 20,000 square feet of educational space consisting of three separate buildings. Two of the three buildings were built using modular units helping to keep the costs down. The Charter School had shared space with the County Vocational School since 1997. Read more »