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food desert

Hoop House Grows Healthy Food, Combat Diabetes in a Nevada Food Desert

Squeals of excitement and laughter competed with the sounds of power saws, drills and hammers at the Hungry Valley Child Care Center in Sparks, Nevada, as Reno-Sparks Indian Colony (RSIC) teens were handed power tools for the first time in their lives to assist with building a hoop house.

As part of their life skills learning, the teens helped members of the National Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils (NARC&DC) who were attending their national conference in Reno, erect a 14’ x 26’ hoop house, with guidance from University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program staff and assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Tribal Communities Strive to Regain Food Sovereignty

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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

For thousands of years Native Americans thrived in self-sustaining communities.  Now, many have to make do with whatever food and basic goods can be hauled in by truck.

“The Oglala Lakota people thrived for centuries as a self-sustaining community.  They utilized the bounty of their local environment to provide food and shelter,” said Nick Hernandez, Community Food Project director at South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation.  “In modern times, 95 percent of food and basic goods are hauled onto the Oglala Lakota Nation, perpetuating a phenomenon known as a ‘food desert’.”

Rural Development Funds Effort to Give Local Louisiana Growers and Customers a New Market

Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to travel with Jared Hicks, USDA Rural Development’s Business and Cooperative Specialist, to attend the grand opening of a new 19,500 square-foot grocery store in Winnsboro, Louisiana.  It was an exciting and happy day for the community residents on the south side of Winnsboro and surrounding towns. Local residents, Chamber of Commerce representatives, and community leaders all were out to celebrate the impressive day-long opening of Ford Food Center. Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) a retailer-owned cooperative and one of the largest wholesale grocery distributors in the United States had staff on-hand to provide assistance for this occasion.

Apply to Make a Difference: Farmers Market Promotion Program Grants Available

Every day, thousands of local farmers and ranchers work hard to ensure that their communities have access to a diverse range of fresh, healthy affordable foods.  While nutritious food is a cornerstone of society’s physical health, a vibrant community also includes sustainable economic opportunities.  By funding projects that support these goals, USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program continues to make a difference for farmers at the local level.

Farmers Market Promotion Program Supports Diverse Needs in Upper Midwest States

While most people associate farmers markets with fresh fruits and vegetables, farmers and ranchers actually bring a much more diverse range of products to the table every week. This year’s portfolio of grant recipients under the Farmers Market Promotion Program, administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), reflected that diversity in its range of projects. Among the grant recipients are several enterprises in the Midwest that overcome barriers for small livestock producers to get their healthy meat options into local markets.

Let’s Move Faith and Communities Inspires Fresh Produce for 100 Food Pantries

Cross posted from the Let's Move! blog:

Since First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent announcement of a private sector commitment to build or expand 1,500 food stores, Americans across the country have been inspired to increase their communities’ access to healthy, affordable food. Ample Harvest has risen to the First Lady’s challenge to faith and community leaders to make fresh produce available for at least 10,000 locations in America through Let’s Move!, her initiative to reverse childhood obesity. Since it began partnering with Let’s Move Faith and Communities, Ample Harvest has brought fresh produce to more than 4,000 food pantries across the country. In July, 100 new food pantries joined the movement.

Farmers Market Promotion Program: Expanding Food Access Through Direct Marketing

As the opening of this season’s USDA Farmers Market occurs today in Washington, D.C., Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced approximately $10 million is available to expand direct marketing opportunities and help to eliminate food deserts and increase food access in low-income communities in the United States through the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). By funding projects that increase access to healthy and affordable food while expanding market opportunities for farmers and ranchers, the Farmers Market Promotion Program continues to contribute to the economic and physical health of communities around the country.

Interactive Web Tool Maps Food Deserts, Provides Key Data

Cross posted from the Let's Move! blog:

Ensuring that Americans eat well and lead healthy lives is among our greatest goals at USDA.  First Lady Michelle Obama, of course, has taken an important role on this front – leading a national conversation and administration-wide effort.  As part of the Lets Move! initiative USDA is taking on the challenge of food deserts.  These nutritional wastelands exist across America in both urban and rural communities where parents and children simply do not have access to a supermarket.

The Farmers Market Promotion Program is Feeding Healthy Communities

Cross posted from the Let's Move! blog:

Fresh, nutritious food is a cornerstone of a community’s physical health, but community health is more than physical well-being.  A vibrant, healthy community encompasses both the well-being of consumers through improved health, and the well-being of producers through improved economic outcomes.  Making this connection, and providing healthy, affordable food supplies, are goals of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative.