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2011

A Unique Urban Garden in the Heart of Atlanta

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Wheat Street Gardens, a unique urban garden, located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Ga., not far from the famous civil rights historical Ebenezer and Wheat Street churches.  The garden was once a housing project that was demolished and many of the former residences’ families still come to the garden telling stories of where their parents used to live and reliving the memories as they purchase fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the garden.  The old housing project land, owned by the Wheat Street Church, was donated for the garden.

Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture (TLW), which is a 501(C)(3) Non-Profit, runs the garden, which produces organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs, grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. The garden is also a farmers market selling as a direct farmer to the community and welcomes customers who spend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Regional Planning – Key to Rural Economic Strength

Both of us grew up in small towns, Kathleen in Greenfield, MA and Bob in Ancram, NY.  From our own experiences, we understand the challenges and the importance of a strong rural economy.

We recently visited Brevard, a town of about 6,000 people in North Carolina’s Transylvania County.  While there we held a White House Rural Council meeting at the Transylvania County Library with leadership from the Land-of-Sky Regional Council, the regional economic development commission AdvantageWest, business leaders from Asheville and Brevard, and several local elected officials.  We released a report from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities, at Brevard College, which focuses on how the federal government can help rural areas to be economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable.

From School Garden to Lunch Tray: Veggies Star in West Salem, Wisconsin

When it comes to local foods, it doesn’t get much fresher than vegetables direct from a school garden. In West Salem, Wisconsin, students are not only growing their own vegetables; they’re eating them – with enthusiasm -- in their school lunches. Even more, they’re having fun planting, digging, and harvesting, while learning sustainable growing practices.

‘Move Your Body’ Keeps Students Moving at Job Corps Center in North Carolina

Pop music star Beyonce recently partnered with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to create the Let’s Move! Flash Workout.  The Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Cherokee, N.C. has embraced the Let’s Move! concept, and launched a Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyles program. Oconaluftee has gotten behind this national movement by producing a student fitness video using the music and choreography of the Let’s Move! Flash Workout. 

Turkey FUNdamentals: Leftovers

“Would you like a doggy bag to take home?” asks the waiter. “That would be great” says the diner. Nearly half of her dinner remains on the plate and will make a quick second meal for another day.

But wait. Here’s the same diner calling the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Meat and Poultry Hotline the following day. “I put a restaurant doggy bag in the back seat of my car last night, and when I came out to drive to work, there it sat. Is it safe if I heat it up again?”