For more than 40 years, USDA has been committed to closing the food security gap that occurs in the summer months when children no longer have access to the nutritious meals they’re offered in school.
As I travel across the country visiting our nation’s summer meals sites, I am proud of the commitment we’ve collectively made to nourish both the bodies and minds of our country’s children and teens. Schools, recreation centers, places of worship, libraries and other community sites have generously opened their doors to ensure kids receive healthy, balanced meals during the summer months – a time when many low-income families struggle to provide their children nutritious meals and snacks each and every day.
At USDA we’ve long recognized summer as a vulnerable time for kids and have been focused on closing the food security gap that occurs during the months when school is out of session. Since 2009, more than 1.2 billion meals have been served through the Summer Meal Programs, fueling kids and teens throughout the summer and helping to ensure they are healthy and ready to learn when the school year begins. Read more »
United States Forest Service LWCF projects and many other Government LWCF projects can be viewed in the new interactive map.
There is a Federal program that you may not have heard of, but it is responsible for conserving millions of acres of recreational and conservation lands for Americans to enjoy, and it helps fund local parks, provide access to rivers and trails, and preserve wildlife habitat in every state in the Union. This program is the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and each year, the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture request funding from Congress to support grants to states and high priority federal recreational and conservation investments. Locating and learning about these special places is now easier than ever through a new interactive map. The map enables everyone to explore the 173 public projects proposed for investment in 43 states, including important waterfowl nesting habitat in the Prairie Potholes, battlefields and historic sites from Pennsylvania to Washington, scenic vistas in iconic locations like Maine’s Acadia National Park, and recreation sites in national monuments in California and Arizona.
Land and Water Conservation funds secure access for the American public to their Federal lands. For 50 years, the law has been one of the most successful programs for recreation and conservation in our history. LWCF has provided funding to local communities that supported the construction of more than 40,000 city parks, hiking and biking trails, and boat ramps, and access to thousands of acres of fishing and hunting and important wildlife habitat. Read more »
USDA’s annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families, provides annual estimates for the cost of raising a child. This report provides families with an indication of expenses to anticipate, and is used by state and local governments in determining child support guidelines and foster care payments. Click to enlarge.
Today, USDA released its annual Expenditures on Children by Families report, also known as the “Cost of Raising a Child,” showing that a middle-income family with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend about $245,340 ($304,480 adjusted for projected inflation*) for food, housing, childcare and education, and other child-rearing expenses up to age 18. The costs by location are lower in the urban South ($230,610) and rural ($193,590) regions of the country. Families in the urban Northeast incurred the highest costs to raise a child ($282,480). Read more »
Just because a producer works at a smaller operation doesn’t mean he or she can’t sell on a bigger scale. And the size of a farm shouldn’t limit a producer’s ability to feed local foods to local people. But how can such an operation connect the dots to successfully market its products?
One answer lies in a new kind of business model known as food hubs, which are emerging as critical pillars for building stronger regional and local food systems. A food hub centralizes the business management structure to facilitate the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products. Read more »
Last week, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly Hench, a single Mom of five whom, thanks to the recovery act, was able to move her kids to a home in a nice development just outside of Carlisle, PA. Read more »
USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager was among those attending the New England Housing Network Annual Conference last Friday in Needham, Mass., The Under Secretary joined a panel of Obama Administration officials who spoke about opportunities for working with the administration and Congress. Panelists included Sandra Henriquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing; Barbara Sard, Senior Advisor for Rental Assistance, HUD; and William Apgar, Senior Advisor for Mortgage Finance, HUD. The panel was moderated by the Massachusetts president of the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, Vincent O’Donnell.
Under Secretary Tonsager listed seven key priorities USDA Rural Development intends to focus on in order to stimulate America’s rural economy. They include: Community Development; Regional Development; Broadband Infrastructure Development; Regional Food Systems; Renewable Energy/Energy Independence; Capital Delivery and Strategic Partnerships.
The panel moderator, who also serves as Vice President of the Affordable Housing Preservation Initiative, said that having the Under Secretary at the conference was a testament to the Obama Administrations’ commitment to providing affordable housing regionally and nationally. Barbara Fields, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) told Under Secretary Tonsager: “seeing you here is almost as good as watching New York’s Derek Jeter shag balls from Boston’s Big Papi!”* Information about USDA Rural Development’s housing programs is available here.
(*Quite the compliment from a Red Sox fan!)
By, USDA Rural Development State Director Jay Healy. Mass., R.I., Conn.