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Posts tagged: Rhode Island

High School Students Discover the Forest

In July, 19 students from Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island participated in the week-long “Discover the Forest” camp, the first forestry camp for high school students at the University of Maine.

In July, 19 students from Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island participated in the week-long “Discover the Forest” camp, the first forestry camp for high school students at the University of Maine.

When you invite high school students into the woods, you set the stage for wonder, excitement and endless questions.

Organizers for “Discover the Forest,” a new venture sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Maine, also hope that, in addition to learning about the forest, participants will discover career opportunities and set the stage for a more diverse and inclusive workforce in the future. Read more »

USDA Needs Your Help To Keep Kids From Going Hungry This Summer

Three children enjoy lunch freshly prepared and served on-site by a food service management company at the Inter Metro Summer Recreation Program in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Three children enjoy lunch freshly prepared and served on-site by a food service management company at the Inter Metro Summer Recreation Program in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The summer months are here. Families are making plans for vacations and leisure time spent at the local pool or beach. But for many parents and caregivers, summer is also a time of anxiety as they wonder if they’ll be able to put enough food on the table without school lunch and breakfast to supplement mealtimes. That’s why USDA’s summer meals programs, which provide free meals to disadvantaged kids while school is out, is so important.

Today kicks off Summer Food Service Program Week, an opportunity to spread awareness about the prevalence of child hunger. This summer, we have set a goal of feeding 5 million more meals to eligible kids across the country through our partnerships with state agencies and local organizations. I’m proud to say that last year our partners served 161 million summer meals, feeding approximately 3.5 million children on a typical summer day. Read more »

Fruit and Veggie Tasting Prepares Students for Upcoming School Year

Fruit and Veggie Ambassadors sampling fresh fruit and vegetables at a Pawtucket Summer Food Service Program.

Fruit and Veggie Ambassadors sampling fresh fruit and vegetables at a Pawtucket Summer Food Service Program.

Do you know what a Malanga is? What about a Chocolate Pepper? The “Fruit and Vegetable Ambassador ” (F&V Ambassador) students of Slater Jr. High School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island learned about these unusual vegetables and more during their Summer Food Service Program fruit and vegetable taste testing. For the less adventurous vegetable eater, a Malanga is a root vegetable that has a nutlike flavor and when cut open looks similar to a sweet potato. A Chocolate Pepper is a purple Bell Pepper.

The students at this summer food program are nicknamed the “F&V Ambassadors” of their school. Along with this prestigious title, students get cool t-shirts and, most importantly, the responsibility of encouraging fellow students throughout the school year to make healthier decisions at lunchtime. Read more »

Forest Service Recovery Act Funds Benefit Rhode Island

Two years of work is nearly complete on a project to eradicate what is considered one of the worst invasive exotic plants in parts of the eastern U.S.

An effort to grow and market locally sourced, locally grown and genetically diverse native plants (Rhody Native) in cooperation with nursery industry has been made possible with Forest Service Recovery Act funding. Photo Credit: Hope Leeson.

An effort to grow and market locally sourced, locally grown and genetically diverse native plants (Rhody Native) in cooperation with nursery industry has been made possible with Forest Service Recovery Act funding. Photo Credit: Hope Leeson.

The Japanese knotweed grows in thick, dense colonies that completely crowd out native species. Forest Service Recovery Act funds helped to tackle the infestation in the largest contiguous forest block in Rhode Island where the invasive occurs. Read more »

Refinancing Program Could Help Thousands of USDA Home Mortgage Holders

L-R: Orlando Housing Authority President Vivian Bryant; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Rural Development Florida State Director Richard Machek and Rural Development Florida Single Family Housing Program Director Daryl Cooper participated in a business roundtable in Orlando, Fla., last Friday.  They discussed discuss the USDA Rural Development Home Refinancing Pilot Program which is available to USDA borrowers in 19 states.

L-R: Orlando Housing Authority President Vivian Bryant; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Rural Development Florida State Director Richard Machek and Rural Development Florida Single Family Housing Program Director Daryl Cooper participated in a business roundtable in Orlando, Fla., last Friday. They discussed the USDA Rural Development Home Refinancing Pilot Program which is available to USDA borrowers in 19 states.

When most people think of Orlando, Florida, they envision exciting theme parks, Cinderella’s castle and a mouse with big ears.  But when USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Orlando on February 24th, it was with a different vision in mind. Read more »

Rhode Island Agriculture Day

I was honored to accompany Governor Lincoln Chafee at the Rhode Island Agriculture Day held at the Statehouse in Providence.  In my remarks to farmers, agriculture organizations, legislators, and government officials, I emphasized the Obama Administration’s commitment to Rural America, and complimented producers for being a model for the nation in direct marketing of agricultural products.

Ten percent of Rhode Island’s agricultural sales move through direct marketing channels such as farmers markets, roadside stands and CSA’s.  In addition, Rhode Island has developed a successful Farm-to-School program and a Farm-to-Plate program with local restaurants. Read more »