All universities engage in research and teaching, but the nation’s more than 100 land-grant colleges and universities, have a third critical mission—extension. “Extension” means “reaching out,” and—along with teaching and research—land-grant institutions extend their resources, solving public needs with college or university resources through non-formal, non-credit programs.
These programs are largely administered through thousands of county and regional extension offices, which bring land-grant expertise to the most local of levels. And both the universities and their local offices are supported by NIFA, the federal partner in the Cooperative Extension System (CES). Read more »
Somali Bantu farmers at Intervale Center in Vermont. The Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program (RAPP) helps refugee farmers earn viable incomes through agriculture, by providing grants to support organizations and training in topics like business practices, pest control, land financing, and selling to restaurants and farmers markets.
What does USDA have to do with supporting refugees? What do refugees contribute to our food systems here in the United States? The answers become clear when you look at a unique partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program (RAPP), USDA, and Agricultural Extension agents. Read more »
Access to capital for farm and food businesses was the focus of a two-day workshop in December sponsored by the Vermont Farm Viability Program and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. The event was supported by the Vermont Agriculture Innovation Center which provides technical assistance to small value added food businesses and producers through a USDA Agriculture Innovation Grant to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. Read more »
Earlier this month I joined USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Conservation, (NRCS) Ann Mills, and Deputy Director of the Executive Secretariat, David Aten, in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for a “Great Regions” convening.
Federal, state and local officials joined members of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative and we shared some of the great progress Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) recipients have made and spoke about the challenges the communities of the three-county Kingdom face in securing a healthy, culturally robust and economically successful future. Read more »
This 100-year old former Vermont dairy barn will soon be a school for at-risk students.
Construction has begun on Laraway’s new home. Looking at this hundred-year-old dairy barn jacked up in the air on the occasion of last month’s ground-breaking, it occurred to me that this labor of renovation and rejuvenation foreshadows what happens to the at-risk kids who come to Laraway Youth and Family Services in Johnson, Vermont. Read more »
With USDA funding support, Morningside Shelter in Brattleboro, Vermont, recently completed an expansion to provide more space for people with children, while improving energy efficiency. Support to residents includes job training, nutrition, health services, parenting and child care services and skills to move them into permanent housing.
It’s dark and damp November, Vermont’s least welcoming month. The brilliance of autumn is gone and the dazzle of snow is still around the corner. Brattleboro is no different than most other communities in Vermont, or just across the river in New Hampshire, where people are worried about jobs, paying for heat and groceries, or worse, finding a place to live. Just in time for winter, with help from USDA in Vermont, Morningside Shelter has completed an expansion project that will allow a 30 percent increase in residents. The homeless shelter’s Executive Director Paul Capcara noted, “We’ve been operating at full capacity year round for the last several years. We’ve been getting more calls than ever from people with children.” Read more »