It may be spring time, but the staff of Northern Girl already has big plans for fall, when their new vegetable processing facility officially opens in Van Buren, Maine. Funded in part through a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG), the new 4,000 square foot facility will allow for the potential for year round processing of locally-grown vegetables.
This project is a really valuable asset – not only does it support a growing Maine business and 12 rural northern Maine farms, but it also puts fresh, locally-grown vegetables, “bounty from the county,” on the shelves for consumers in Maine and other parts of New England to enjoy. It reflects USDA Rural Development’s solid commitment to support local and regional food systems.
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It’s amazing what can happen when you combine a great idea, commitment to community, love of agriculture, fresh air, good earth, and energized volunteers. In the Cotton and Tobacco Programs, a part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, we found this to be the perfect combination to cultivate our own People’s Garden – the Cotton Patch.
The People’s Garden initiative brings USDA employees and more than 700 local and national organizations together to create community and school gardens inspiring locally-led solutions to some of the challenges facing our country – from hunger to the environment.
Here in Memphis, creating the Cotton Patch was a collaborative series of fortunate events that began when employees from our local office requested to overhaul the facility’s landscaping and create our own People’s Garden. Read more »
Easy to build, maintain and move, high tunnels provide an energy-efficient way to extend the growing season and provide fresh food for local communities. NRCS photo by Jason Hughes.
Janet Mahala runs an organic farm nestled in a small valley in the Tennessee Appalachian Mountains. Last year she started a Community Supported Agriculture membership program on her farm. Shortly thereafter she expanded production with a high tunnel which has extended her farm’s growing season by several months. Read more »
Visitors sight several eagles during a recent guided boat tour offered by Land Between The Lakes. (Shannon Brockway/U.S. Forest Service photo)
While winter tends to be a quiet time for tourists at Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area in western Kentucky and Tennessee, tourists of a different feather flock to the lakes during our coldest months of the year. Read more »
In a 1957 sermon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., challenged the congregation, asking: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ’What are you doing for others?’ ”
Throughout his lifetime, Dr. King was passionately committed to community and service. On January 21st, USDA Rural Development is proud to join with Americans from all walks of life to honor Dr. King’s legacy through a National Day of Service. The Day of Service — a “day on, not a day off” — is part of United We Serve, President Obama’s national call to service initiative.
At USDA Rural Development, “doing for others” is one of our core rural values, and we encourage everyone in our organization to practice Dr. King’s principals of community, volunteerism and service not just on the Day of Service but throughout the year. In Tennessee, the “Volunteer State,” USDA Rural Development employees in the State Office in Nashville helped the hungry over the past year by donating more than 3,800 pounds of food through the USDA Feds Feed Families food drive to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. State Office employees also helped the food bank, which provides food to about 600,000 people across 46 counties each year, to sort food items for easier distribution. Read more »
Recovery Act funding saved this bridge, the only direct thoroughfare to the town of Ripley, Tenn.
Steve Koonce, a Civil Engineering Technician with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), remembers swimming in Tennessee’s Cane Creek as a youngster, when he and friends would jump from a bridge into the water 15 feet below. But today, because of a catastrophic erosion problem, that activity would be a lot more dangerous. Read more »