Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Dr. Joe Leonard (right) and an auditorium full of U.S. Department of Agriculture employees laughed, listened and learned of the Reverend Al Sharpton’s insights about the topic of “Civil Rights in the Age of Obama,” on Monday, February 28, 2011 in Washington, D.C. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.
Throughout the month of August, we are reflecting on changes we’ve made over the past eight years to create a culture of inclusivity among USDA employees and the diverse communities we serve. For a broader look at our progress, check out our Results project here:
As a kid during the first years of desegregation in Austin, Texas’ public schools, many of my early experiences were shaped by race, and I quickly became familiar with the life-changing impacts discrimination can have on individuals both young and old. While a lot for any kid to experience, these circumstances taught me the power of inclusion, and from them, I became aware of the ways diversity and fairness can help repair troubled histories and heal the wounds of the past. These lessons have shaped my life’s work.
When Secretary Vilsack and I arrived nearly eight years ago, we were aware of USDA’s imperfect history marked by denial of equal service – too often based on race. It was admittedly a terrible situation by any accord. We had our work cut out for us, and got started quickly by examining our history deeply and thoroughly, bringing to light the most challenging aspects of the Department’s past. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (center), GSA Regional Administrator Julia Hudson (left) and AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer (right) officially open the VegUcation tent at the USDA Farmers Market opening. This new feature at the market will help visitors learn how to pick, prepare and store seasonal fruits and vegetables they find at the Farmers Market. USDA photo by Ken Melton.
We celebrated a few “firsts” today when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opened the 21st season of the USDA Farmers Market located outside USDA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The Secretary announced the first-ever partnership between USDA, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the General Services Administration (GSA) to better support agencies and Federal employees who want to incorporate gardens, farmers markets and community supported agriculture programs (CSAs) into the Federal workplace.
OPM provides Government-wide guidance on health and wellness policies for Federal employees and GSA manages Federal property and offices. By working together, we can more effectively exchange ideas about how to engage thousands of employees and improve employee health and wellness in the workplace. Read more »
As we’ve celebrated Public Service Recognition Week this week, Secretary Vilsack and employees all across the government have shared what an honor it is to work as a public servant. But, it’s no secret that the federal hiring process is a lengthy one, which can be especially frustrating for recent graduates eager to begin careers upon earning their degrees. To streamline this process and meet an important hiring initiative—bringing qualified candidates with diverse backgrounds and more young people into our ranks—USDA has been piloting a new on-site hiring strategy at Minority Serving Institutions.
Working directly with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), USDA has hosted five on-site events where USDA hiring managers collect applications, conduct interviews, and in some cases make job offers on the spot for internships and recent graduate positions. To date, USDA has collected 795 applications at these events, for a total of 276 available positions within 10 USDA agencies, including the Agricultural Marketing Service, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Farm Service Agency, Forest Service, Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Risk Management Agency, and Rural Development. Read more »
Emily Clever, Morningside Shelter Case Manager, Deborah Boyd, RD Specialist, and Laura Gibson, co-chair of the Vermont RD Feds Feed Families campaign, deliver food donations to the Morningside Shelter in Vermont.
With just over three weeks left in the 2011 Feds Feed Families campaign, we are nearing the finish line of what has been an extraordinary show of support, commitment and compassion from USDA employees across the country. Read more »
It’s a movement that began in 2009 with a jackhammer and the desire to transform the land surrounding USDA Headquarters into a healthier, more sustainable landscape. Immediately support for such an effort poured in and the first People’s Garden was built here in Washington, DC. A few months’ later employees outside the Capital Beltway received a challenge from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack encouraging them to be involved in these efforts and create similar gardens at their USDA facility or within the community where they work. A movement that started with one garden was about to spread its roots and it did just that in 2010. Read more »
Feds Feed Families: (left to right), Traci Ross, Farm Service Agency Coordinator; Tammi Schone, Rural Development Coordinator; and Linda Weinzetl, Natural Resources Conservation Service Coordinator with some of the food collected for the backpack program.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) partnered with the Office of Personnel Management to participate in the Feds, Farmers, and Friends Feed Families (F5), a food drive. This food drive benefited local food banks identified by state and area/local USDA offices. Read more »