Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited the Capital Area Food Bank in northeast Washington this morning, to help highlight the President’s United We Serve initiative and encourage Americans to serve their communities.
She also spoke directly to USDA employees, who are encouraged to participate in the Feds Feed Families program through August by bringing food to work:
Merrigan, joined by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, reiterated the President’s pledge to end childhood hunger by 2015 — and the importance of the nation’s food banks in that effort. At the same time, she noted, summer is often the hardest time for food banks to gather the resources they need to help the community.
This summer, that’s one problem the Obama Administration is hoping to address as it kicks off the United We Serve program. When people find a local project, whether it’s helping to gather food for a food bank, building a family a home, or working to clean up a park, everyone benefits. And although the hurdles are sometimes high, the Deputy Secretary and other attendees’ summer Hawaiian shirts served as a reminder that volunteering this summer, with friends, family and neighbors, can be fun at the same time.
Deputy Secretary Merrigan meets with staff at the Capitol Area Food Bank.
Secretary Vilsack prepared a message this month describing the purpose and mission of the Peoples’ Garden at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC.
Here’s the first part of the message. Check it out, and be sure to visit the Peoples’ Garden web page and Twitter feed.
From: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
Re: The Peoples’ Garden
What was the idea behind the people’s garden? Well, we wanted to take an opportunity to showcase what we do at USDA, and to encourage folks to consider local production and local consumption. We felt that this was an opportunity to provide an example to the rest of the country.
There are a lot of people who walk this mall from all over the country, and we thought if we had a statement garden that we would begin to get peoples attention about this, but we wanted to also encourage other USDA offices to follow suit. And we felt that if we could create these people’s gardens then it would allow us to better connect people with where their food comes from. Allow young people in particular to understand how hard it is to produce food and how much fun it is to produce food. And we believed that as these local production opportunities were created young people in particular would not only learn the lessons of hard work, but more importantly would be encouraged to be more nutritious eaters. So there are lots of reasons for the people’s garden, and we’re encouraged by the response…
Read the rest of the Secretary’s Peoples’ Garden message here, or visit the Peoples’ Garden web page to learn more and see what’s happening in the garden.
As you may have seen, it’s been a busy week on the Rural Tour. Secretary Vilsack visited Wisconsin last Thursday, Virginia on Saturday, and yesterday met with three other members of the Obama cabinet in St. John’s Parish, Louisiana to discuss a broad range of issues facing rural America. Read more »
When President Obama announced United We Serve, a summer service initiative to encourage all Americans to reach out in service to their neighbors and communities, he was very clear that the government acting alone can’t pull America through these hard economic times. Read more »
Secretary Vilsack just announced an additional $274 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for conservation and restoration projects in our nation’s forests. The money will mean more American jobs, better trails and scenery in the forests, and new work to maintain these national treasures. The announcement also brings the total figure for ARRA funds dedicated to National Forests to more than $936 million. Read more »
This afternoon, Secretary Vilsack and Education Secretary Arne Duncan met with elementary school students from Arlington, Virginia visiting the Department of Education for the day. The students had the opportunity to learn about the Secretaries’ work, and Secretary Vilsack took some time to read “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper for the kids
Vilsack reads 'The Little Engine That Could' for elementary school children alongside Education Secretary Duncan