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2010

Thanksgiving

My family spent Thanksgiving morning at the D.C. Central Kitchen, where we helped prepare dinners for the homeless and needy in our nation’s capitol.  While some might describe our act as ‘giving to others,’ truth is that it was a gift to us.  I want my children, aged 10 and 11, to understand that not everyone has what they do and that we need to care about others and serve our community.  We all had a blast, by the way, and it made this Thanksgiving one of the best ever!

This is not a soup kitchen, but a centralized kitchen facility that prepares around 4,000 meals daily which are delivered by a fleet of trucks to partner agencies like homeless shelters, rehabilitation clinics, and after school programs. 

Winter Farmers Markets are Hot Despite the Cold Weather

USDA Farmers Market Directory Counts Nearly 900 Winter Farmers Markets.

The tents are up. The vendors are ready, with proud displays of local produce, meats, baked goods, and other delights. Customers are out – shopping, visiting, and mingling.  It’s a typical farmers market scene, robust with fresh, healthful, local food and lively connections between consumers and producers.

It must be the height of summer, right?

Food Banks: A boots on the ground effort

I have been with the USDA for a little over six months, and have had bouts of excitement and nervousness that come with learning the ins and outs of featured programs like Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other nutrition initiatives. It wasn’t until I sat down and researched the agency, that I understood the breadth of our program portfolio and their numerous benefits for millions of Americans. Fast forward a half year, and the complexities of becoming an effective hunger advocate are evident. Invited to attend the Tarrant Area Food Bank Partners Meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, my eyes opened to a much larger world.

Children Explore Agricultural Science on Wheels

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA's rich science and research portfolio.

Ahhh!  Remember the days of taking classroom field trips?  Bet you never had one like this—a virtual visit by a classroom on wheels that drives right up to the school’s front door!

Texas FSA Fills Teaching Gap in School District

When Terri Trevino heard that the agriculture program in the Calvert Independent School District in Texas might be suspended due to the lack of an instructor, she immediately turned to the Farm Service Agency to fill the gap.

“I knew that it was important to keep the agriculture program active because of the town’s background and dependence on agriculture as a way of life,” said Trevino, farm loan manager for Bell, Falls, Milam and Williamson counties in Texas. “I also know how important the role of a teacher is in keeping kids interested in learning and staying in school.”

High Hopes For High Tunnels

Cross-posted from the Let's Move! Blog:

Question:

What are those giant clear caterpillar looking things in the White House garden?

Answer:

They are high tunnels and they are another step in increasing the ability of farmers and gardeners around the nation to grow and provide healthy nutritious fruits and vegetables throughout the year.

North Carolina Builds Its Local Food Economy

A team of industry and university leaders from North Carolina visited USDA recently to tell us about their work in building a stronger statewide local food system. Nancy Creamer of North Carolina State University, John O’Sullivan and Shorlette Ammons of North Carolina A&T State University, and Cheryl Queen of Compass Group North America are all involved in various ways in the leadership of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS).

Inspired by First Lady, Chef Pablo Does the Same for New York Students

This summer, after being motivated by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Lets Move! campaign, Chef Raquel Rivera-Pablo began teaming with schools throughout the New York City area.  Ever since she attended a White House South Lawn event for chefs like her, Pablo was inspired to chart her own Chefs Move to Schools experience.