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Monday, October 31, 2016

Summer Returns from the Dead

From US National Weather Service Kansas City Missouri:




Cloudy skies across the land,
The afternoon sun is close at hand.
Warm winds blow in search of leaves,
To strew across y’alls neighborhood.
And whosoever shall be found
Without the thermostat turned down,
Must stand and face this next warm spell
And sweat inside their house’s shell.
Abnormal warmth is in the air,
Warmest Halloween in 26 years.
And humidity from this moisture plume
Is closing in to seal your doom.
And though you fight to stay cooled off
You think this is a bummer.
For no forecaster can deny
The weather feels like summer.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

USDA Foods’ Local Roots: DoD Fresh Connects the Farm to School

From the #USDA:


Royal Food Service sign
Royal Food Service in Atlanta brings the farm to 1,900 schools through the DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.
What do the military’s logistical network, peaches and peppers, and school children have in common? The first delivers the second to the third through a unique partnership between the Department of Defense (DoD) and USDA.
October is National Farm to School Month and the perfect time to celebrate the DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which connects schools with fresh and often local produce using their USDA Foodsentitlement dollars. Schools order local foods from a variety of sources, and according to the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census, 29 percent of districts participating in farm to school are receiving local foods through DoD Fresh.
For the past two decades, USDA has worked with DoD to leverage its extensive procurement system to bring fresh produce to schools. Since the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) procures thousands of items to support the nation’s troops and military bases, using this network to supply school meal programs is mutually beneficial.
The roots of the connection between DoD and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) go back a half century, even before the beginning of DoD Fresh. During World War II, many young men were rejected from the United States military draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. This became a matter of national security that caused alarm at DoD. The rates of malnutrition among draftees, as well as the general health of the nation’s children, led to the signing of the National School Lunch Act in 1946 by President Harry Truman. Similarly, DoD Fresh improves the nation’s health and supports U.S. agriculture by providing nutritious options for school lunches and encouraging children to develop healthy eating patterns at a young age.
DoD Fresh has steadily grown from $3.2 million and eight participating states in school year 1995-1996 to $198 million and 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam in school year 2015-2016. States can opt to allocate a portion of their USDA Foods entitlement dollars toward DoD Fresh. Schools and school districts are then able to choose from a large selection of produce options available in their regional vendor’s catalog. The catalogs identify which items are locally grown, offer a variety of pack sizes and include pre-cut options.
In late August, FNS accompanied DLA on a vendor site visit to Royal Food Service in Atlanta to learn first-hand about the vendor’s best practices in providing exemplary service to its school customers. DLA audits vendors once per contract period, or more often as necessary, to ensure compliance with program requirements. Royal serves 1,900 schools and exemplifies excellent customer service through regular communication. Newsletters for schools feature updates on products and deliveries, local produce, market conditions and peak-of-season produce. “We try and educate and guide our customers to purchase the best product, at the best price, at the right time of the year,” explains Katie Whitehurst, Royal’s School Director. Royal also reaches out to local growers in states adjacent to Georgia, who may provide a significant volume of produce to meet schools’ needs, while local growers approach Royal to develop partnerships.
DoD Fresh is all about partnerships, connecting local farmers with vendors and schools and leveraging the unique capabilities of DLA and USDA.  These efforts bring peaches and peppers – and many other fresh fruits and vegetables – to the plates of school children across the country.
Take one small step in celebration of National Farm to School Month and find your DoD Fresh vendor! And sign up today for the USDA Foods E-Letter and Community Food Systems E-Letter for all the latest program news and resources.

Kansas City Weather | October 29, 2016

From US National Weather Service Kansas City Missouri:




Temperatures today will be almost 20 degrees above normal with brief drop Sunday only to return back to the 80s for Halloween! The rest of the week keeps the warm temperatures around with a chance of showers and thunderstorms Wednesday, but otherwise dry and warm is the trend.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Cascade Pass

From U.S. Department of the Interior:




Less than three hours from Seattle, an alpine landscape of blue sky, snow-capped mountains and beautiful fall colors beckons. Inspired by a painting he saw at the visitor center of North Cascades National Park, Peter Zelinka spent the next two days waiting for the clouds to break so he could recreate this stunning scene of Cascade Pass. When skies clear, he raced the 3.7 miles (1,744 feet above) up to Cascade Pass before the sun dipped behind the mountains. “It looked just like the painting! The fall colors were brilliant on this late-September afternoon.” Photo courtesy of Peter Zelinka. — at North Cascades National Park Service Complex.

Already Planning to Feed More Kids than Ever During Summer 2017

From the #USDA:


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack serving breakfast to students at Robert E. Lee Elementary
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack serves breakfast to students at Robert E. Lee Elementary in Petersburg, VA on Jun. 7, 2016. Secretary Vilsack was at the school for the kick off of the U.S Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Summer Food Program.
Now that summer has come and gone, I’m happy to announce that this season the USDA Rural Housing Service was able to partner with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to feed more kids than ever before. Three hundred and five Rural Housing Service Multi-Family Housing properties participated in FNS’ Summer Meal Programs, which provide low-income children with free, healthy meals during the summer when school is out. This is 121 more affordable housing communities we were able to serve than the year before, and almost triple the number from 2014.
This is a huge success, and I’m so proud of my team across the country for feeding more kids at our properties than ever before! However, we cannot become complacent because we have the potential to make an even bigger difference in the lives of rural kids. There are more opportunities to partner with borrowers in our Multi-Family Housing and Community Facilities Programs, and I’ve set a lofty goal for summer 2017.
Next year, for the first time we’re planning to actively promote the Summer Meal Programs among our Community Facilities borrowers, aiming for at least one meal site hosted at a USDA-financed Community Facility in every state.  We’re also looking at opportunities to reach out to our Mutual Self-Help single-family housing communities, and of course we’ll keep growing our Multi-Family Housing participation at our thousands of properties across the nation.
Because USDA-financed housing and community facilities exist in so many places deep in the heart of rural America, they are the perfect “home bases” for providing vital meal services to children, so we are committed to continuing to grow our kid feeding network across the nation.
Help us help kids! If you want to work with USDA to reduce child food insecurity this summer contact your local USDA Rural Development State Office. The more partners we have, the more kids will feel secure in the knowledge that they’ll be getting regular meals this summer. Now is the time to get involved—many of the state agencies administering the Summer Meal Programs are holding planning meetings this fall. To contact the state agency managing the program in your state, visit www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/school-meals-contacts.
Two sisters sharing lunch at Meadowridge Apartments
Two sisters share lunch at Meadowridge Apartments on July 14, 2016 in Simpsonville, Kentucky during the USDA Summer Meals program.

Dust Over the Arabian Sea

From NASA Earth:




Dust Over the Arabian Sea

October is a month of transition for weather patterns over the Arabian Sea. In the summer, winds blow from the sea toward land. In the winter, the winds reverse and blow over the Arabian Sea from the northeast. During October, between the summer and winter monsoons, the prevailing wind direction varies.

When the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image on October 26, 2016, northeasterly winds were dominant and blew several dust plumes off the coast of Iran and Pakistan. 

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=89013

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Autumn Is My Favorite Time Of Year

From U.S. Department of the Interior:




Walk into a fall wonderland at Acadia National Parkin Maine. Our nation’s first east coast national park, Acadia is a great place to watch the colors turn. From a peaceful stroll along the Jesup Trail (pictured here) to more strenuous trails like the Beehive, there’s so many ways to explore this autumn paradise. Photo courtesy of Vincent James.— at Acadia National Park.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Celebrating Seasonal Variety at the USDA Fall Harvest Festival

From the #USDA:


2016 Peoples Garden Harvest Festival flyer
If you are in Washington DC, you come celebrate fall with us at the 7th annual USDA Harvest Festival on Friday, October 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the People’s Garden, at the USDA Farmers Market and along 12th Street right next to the market and steps from the Smithsonian Metro Stop Mall Exit.
Can you describe your favorite thing about fall? Would it be picking pumpkins, jumping carefree into a pile of crisp leaves, admiring the brilliant riots of color in our national forests and grasslands, eating fall vegetables, or something else entirely?
You can celebrate fall in all of these ways at the 7th annual USDA Harvest Festival on Friday, October 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the People’s Garden, at the USDA Farmers Market and along 12th Street right next to the market. Take advantage of the last opportunity this year to enjoy what’s in season from pumpkins to apple cider at the USDA Farmers Market located at the corner of 12th Street and Independence Ave, SW in Washington, D.C.
The day will be filled with what makes fall so special from favorite activities to smells and flavors to the riot of colors and so much more – all free and fun for the whole family. Here’s a list of the planned events:
Fall Activities:
  • Don’t miss a chance to enter the Halloween costume contest at 11 a.m. at the yellow information tent in the USDA Farmers Market to win prizes. Bring your dog for a chance to win best “Howl-A-Ween” costume.
  • Meet adoptable dogs and cats aboard The Washington Humane Society-Washington Animal Rescue League’s mobile adoption vehicle called Adopt Force One.
  • Buzz over to observe honeybees at work in a glass enclosed observation hive, taste honeyfrom the People’s Garden Apiary and talk with beekeepers from the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Bee Research Laboratory.
  • Play “inspector” and work alongside staff from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program to help with the candling and grading of eggs by hand. What is candling? Candling is the process of using light to help determine the quality of an egg.
  • Explore DC Central Kitchen’s Truck Farm, a traveling, edible exhibit that allows D.C.’s urban youth to really “dig in” to the source of the food that fuels their growing.
  • Pet a potbelly pig, sheep, goats and other farm animals in the People’s Garden.
  • Pick and paint a pumpkin to take home, play games like squash bowling and get free temporary vegetable tattoos.
Fall Flavors:
  • Learn how to buy, clean, store, and cook with mushrooms from 11:30 to 1 p.m. at VegU. Many different types of mushrooms will be on display, along with recipes, nutrition information, tips and tastings thanks to the American Mushroom Institute and the Mushroom Council.
  • Try a variety of raw apples to help you seek out your favorite or a new-to-you apple variety thanks to USDA’s Agricultural Research Service’s Appalachian Fruit Research Station in West Virginia.
  • Not sure what to do with that harvest? Talk with experts from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for food storage and holiday cooking tips.
  • Buy prepared foods for lunch or snacks and fall’s freshest produce like squash, apples, sweet potatoes and cauliflower from more than 30 vendors who are farmers and small business owners in the District, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania at the USDA Farmers Market.
Fall Colors:
  • Ask experts from the U.S. Forest Service why as days shorten and temperatures become crisp, the green palette of summer leaves transforms into the fall foliage palette of reds, oranges, golds, and browns.
  • Meet local artist and illustrator Marcella Kriebel, whose art celebrates a variety of food related themes, from broccoli to cheese. Her collection of watercolor prints, titled Illustrated Feast is fun to mix and match, to make your own DC created art series.
  • And much more!
For updates about this event, follow us on Twitter @PeoplesGarden and @USDA_AMS.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Transportation and Marketing Program oversees the USDA Farmers Market & People’s Garden Initiative for the Department.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Colorado Proud School Meal Day Features Local Yak, Peaches, Potatoes and More!

From the #USDA:


Deputy Under Secretary Katie Wilson speaking with Denver Green School students
Deputy Under Secretary Katie Wilson speaks with Denver Green School students about their locally-sourced lunch during Colorado Proud School Meal Day.
From locally-raised yak burgers to school garden-grown zucchini, Colorado schools kicked off the school year with farm to school gusto! On September 14, an estimated 550 schools reaching 160,700 students celebrated Colorado Proud School Meal Day by featuring fresh, locally-grown food in their school meals. The annual event is organized by Colorado Proud, a program to promote local foods through the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
Students from the public Denver Green School celebrated with special guests including Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary Katie Wilson and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. Guests joined students for a delicious school lunch featuring homegrown zucchini, onions, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. Students voiced their excitement for the fresh food, and guests headed outside to the school farm where the produce was grown.
In partnership with the local nonprofit organization Sprout City Farms, the Green School features a one-acre farm on school grounds where students help plant, tend and harvest fresh food. The farm provides fresh produce to the school lunchroom through its innovative Farm to Cafeteria program.  Produce from the farm also benefits the community through a neighborhood Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, weekly farm stand, cooking classes and donations to local food pantries. In 2012, Denver Public Schools received a USDA Farm to School Grant to develop standards-based garden curriculum, create and test new farm to school recipes and bolster on-farm food safety trainings.
The Denver Green School wasn’t the only school that celebrated Colorado Proud School Meal Day with a bang – the Ridgway School District in Ridgway served locally-raised yak burgers! The district’s food service manager, Marilyn Younie, connected with Hawk N’ Yak Ranch located across the street from the school. Students and faculty were pleasantly surprised by the tender, lean, flavorful yak burgers served alongside roasted potatoes from the San Luis Valley and peaches from Conner Orchard in Hochkiss.
From the front range of the Rocky Mountains to the Uncompahgre Valley, Colorado schools have Colorado Proud School Meal Day under their belts and look forward to celebrating National Farm to School Month!
Staff at Ridgway School District serving a meal
Staff at Ridgway School District serve a colorful, local meal for Colorado Proud School Meal Day.

Martian Spiders

From NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration:




Ten thousand citizen scientists viewing images of Martian south polar regions have helped identify targets for closer inspection. Their study has yielded new insights about seasonal slabs of frozen carbon dioxide and erosional features known as “ spiders.” Details: http://go.nasa.gov/2eLfnt4

Saturn's Clouds

From NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration:




Saturn's clouds are full of raw beauty, but they also represent a playground for a branch of physics called fluid dynamics, which seeks to understand the motion of gases and liquids. Learn more: http://go.nasa.gov/2eoJ6tX

Still expecting showers and thunderstorms

From US National Weather Service Kansas City Missouri:




Still expecting showers and thunderstorms across the area as a cold front moves through the area, with the best chances beginning this evening into Wednesday morning. After the rain, temperatures will remain above average with plenty of sunshine going into the weekend!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Buck Hollow Overlook in Shenandoah National Park

From U.S. Department of the Interior:




When searching for fall colors, don’t forget to look down! This crimson Virginia Creeper lends red hues to a stone wall at Buck Hollow Overlook in Shenandoah National Park. An autumn hike to enjoy changing colors and crisp air is sure to be a soothing tonic any day of the week. Photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service. — at Shenandoah National Park.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fall is Here! Celebrate with Pumpkin, 5 Different Ways

From the #USDA:


Pumpkin 5 Ways infographic
Celebrate fall with these delicious and easy pumpkin recipes from MyPlate. (Click to view a larger version)
Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween! These versatile vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin A and dietary fiber. To demonstrate different ways you can incorporate this seasonal superstar, MyPlate is showcasing five easy recipes with pumpkin as the main ingredient.
MyPlate encourages you to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. People who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables provide nutrients vital for the health and maintenance of your body. Pumpkins are full of color and are a great way to eat your veggies!
Try these recipes featuring pumpkin five different ways to add more vitamin A and dietary fiber to your menus:
  • The Grab and Go Breakfast: Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
    Bake up these muffins the night before and enjoy them with a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk for a delicious start to your day!
  • The Refreshing Beverage: Pumpkin Smoothie
    Drink up the MyPlate way! One serving of this smoothie gives you 1/4 cup from the Vegetable Group, 1/4 cup from the Fruit Group, and 1/2 cup from the Dairy Group.
  • The Simple Weeknight Dinner: Pumpkin and White Bean Soup
    Mashed beans plus pumpkin make this soup unique. Cook up a quick batch to enjoy on a busy weeknight.
  • The Sweet Treat: Pumpkin Pudding
    Looking for a new dessert? Serve this pudding in small, festive cups for a great party treat.
  • The Fun Family Breakfast: Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes
    Fall weekends are full of activities and events. Start out your day together with a delicious breakfast! Kids can help to measure and mix the ingredients in this simple recipe.
For more healthy recipes, check out www.WhatsCooking.fns.usda.gov, and learn more about the Vegetable Group at ChooseMyPlate.gov. Check back with us in November when we feature turkey five different ways!

Fall can come and go in the blink of an eye at Rocky Mountain National Park

From the U.S. Department of the Interior:




Fall can come and go in the blink of an eye at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. This early fall picture captures the beauty of the park in autumn, but snow is already beginning to fall in the upper elevations. Soon, most of the park will be covered in a blanket of white. Photo by Vikas Garg (www.sharetheexperience.org). — at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Linguistic prodigy: 4yo Russian girl speaks 7 languages, incl Chinese & Arabic (VIDEO) — RT Viral

Four-year-old Bella Devyatkina rose to fame after her appearance on a Russian TV talent show, where she spoke seven different languages without a prominent accent. RT invited Bella to its Moscow studios and spoke to the child prodigy.



Linguistic prodigy: 4yo Russian girl speaks 7 languages, incl Chinese & Arabic (VIDEO) — RT Viral

The first slice of Jupiter’s cloud formations

From NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration:




Through the eyes of our Juno spacecraft we see the first slice of Jupiter’s cloud formations. The instrument that took these images is capable of seeing a couple hundred miles into Jupiter’s atmosphere with its largest antenna. The belts and bands visible on the surface are also visible in modified form in each layer below. Take a closer look: http://go.nasa.gov/2eyc9Je

Perfect weekend weather for outdoor activities!

From US National Weather Service Kansas City Missouri:




Perfect weekend weather for outdoor activities! Except, for maybe ice fishing...definitely not ice fishing weather. Have a great weekend everyone! However, if you feel like checking back in with us, we'll still be here.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Guadalupe Mountains

From U.S. Department of the Interior:




Rising like a castle wall above the surrounding desert, the Guadalupe Mountains are an impressive sight on the plains of West Texas.Guadalupe Mountains National Park provides over 80 miles of extraordinary hiking trails through a beautiful and diverse wilderness. Here you can see amazing fossils, take awesome pictures and climb to Guadalupe Peak: the “Top of Texas.” Photo courtesy of Aaron Bates. — with Aaron Bates Photography at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fiery Sunset

From U.S. Department of the Interior:




Here’s a fiery sunset from one last hike at Glacier National Park’s Logan Pass this year. Last week, the Going-to-the-Sun Road closed for the year, so that means we’ll have to make it through winter with our memories of these epic Montana views. Photo by National Park Service. — at Glacier National Park.



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Small Steps for Using the USDA Farm to School Census

From the #USDA:


Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released final results from the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census, showing that more than 42,000 schools across the country are operating farm to school programs and another 10,000 have plans to start in the future. During the 2013-2014 school year, these schools purchased nearly $800 million worth of local products from farmers, ranchers, fishermen and other food producers – a 105 percent increase from the 2011-2012 school year – and tended to more than 7,101 school gardens.
The Farm to School Census establishes a national baseline of farm to school activities happening across the country. Whether you’re interested in learning about the national landscape, what’s happening in your state or how your school district participates in farm to school, there are many ways that this information can be used to support your farm to school efforts. Here are three small steps you can take for using Census data to strengthen farm to school activities in your community:
1. Use Farm to School Census data when sharing your storyThe Farm to School Census contains data about farm to school activities at the local, state and national levels. Using this data – such as the number of kids impacted by farm to school programs or the dollars spent on local food by schools – can help decision makers understand the benefits farm to school programs have for kids, farmers and communities. Combining validated USDA numbers with your personal experiences and stories can be a powerful tool for raising awareness and spreading your message.
2. Use Farm to School Census data to guide training and technical assistance effortsThe Census includes information on schools that report wanting to start farm to school activities, as well as challenges school report facing when it comes to buying local foods. It also shows which local foods schools are currently purchasing and which they would like to purchase in the future. Knowing this information allows support service providers to help schools get involved in farm to school and assist their expansion of farm to school efforts. Use the Farm to School Census data explorer to download information on the kinds of training and technical assistance schools in your area need most.
3. Use Farm to School Census data to measure progressTrack the progress of farm to school activities in your district or state by downloading raw data from both the 2013 and 2015 Farm to School Census. This raw data provides information to track farm to school participation, dollars spent on local foods, and the number of school gardens throughout each state. Comparisons can be made locally, statewide or nationally. Some states, such as Oregon, have begun to use Census data to create statewide goals and action plans. Regional groups, such as Farm to Institution New England (FINE), are also using Census data to measure progress across multiple states.
Find out more ideas for using Census data by watching a recording of the 2015 Farm to School Census webinar, co-hosted by USDA and the National Farm to School Network in August.
USDA is pleased to celebrate October as National Farm to School Month. All month long we’re working alongside the National Farm to School Network to encourage our partners to take one small step to get informed, get involved, and take action to advance farm to school in their own communities and across the country. Digging into the Census data is one small, easy step you can take today! Happy National Farm to School Month! Check out this new video highlighting Census results and sign-up to receive updates from FNS’s Office of Community Food Systems.
In addition to these three ideas, the National Farm to School Network uses Farm to School Census data to help advocate for policy change. Lawmakers are influenced by research and data, and the Farm to School Census is a great resource for helping legislators understand the positive impacts farm to school programs have on children, families, food producers and communities.

Monday, October 17, 2016

State Agencies are Bringing the Farm to School!

From the #USDA:


State agency materials at annual USDA Farm to School Grantee gathering
Materials from state agencies are displayed at the annual USDA Farm to School Grantee gathering.
From organizing statewide conferences, to training farmers and child nutrition professionals, to developing farm to school curricula and resources, state agencies are playing a big role in bringing the farm to school. This fact sheet describes effective strategies state agencies are using to help community food systems take root. Here’s a sampling of three ways state agencies are making an impact.
1. Coordinate Statewide Networking and Goal Setting
State agencies are strategic stakeholders in farm to school initiatives as they offer vital connections to the many groups and organizations engaging in food systems across the state. By facilitating a collective vision, coordinating statewide goal setting and strategic planning, and tracking state progress, agencies understand the wide breadth of activities and partnerships and can identify stakeholders who are not yet at the table or part of networks.
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture established a partnership between GrowFood Carolinaand the South Carolina Department of Education to develop local food procurement resources for a pilot “farm to freezer” project. Thanks to the partnership, frozen blueberries are now available for schools beyond the traditional growing season.
2. Host Local and Statewide Trainings
State agencies identify needs among stakeholder groups and host statewide conferences and events. Training events can include a wide variety of audiences including educators, farmers and producers, school nutrition professionals and non-profit and cooperative extension professionals. Trainings often focus on delivering technical assistance to help schools purchase local foods; build and maintain school gardens; and integrate agriculture, nutrition and health education into school curricula.
In Nevada, the Department of Agriculture provided Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training and on-site group mock audit demonstrations for schools and farmers, ensuring both groups understood the certification process. In 2015, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture delivered 15 on-site workshops on maintaining and connecting school gardens to curriculum standards. State agencies such as the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the Wyoming Department of Educationhave also hosted regional and statewide conferences to engage new stakeholders and provide technical assistance on supply chain connections and procurement.
3. Develop and Share Resource Materials
State agencies develop resources such as state procurement guides, farm to school curricula, school garden guidance and local food promotional materials. In Alabama, the Department of Agriculture and Industries and the State Department of Education partnered with other organizations to develop a farm to school website that surveys farmers and enables schools to find farmers who match their procurement needs.
State agencies also create websites or devote portions of their websites to disseminate farm to school related resources and information. For instance, West Virginia’s Departments of Agriculture and Education collaborated with partners to create the Grow.Educate.Sell website that connects farm to school practitioners across the state.
Dig in!
Since 2013, the USDA Farm to School Grant Program has funded 36 state agencies in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands with nearly two million dollars to expand statewide initiatives including training and technical assistance, increasing capacity for incorporating local foods into school meals and connecting school gardens and culinary activities to classroom curricula. In September, USDA began accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2017 Farm to School Grant Funding. State agencies are eligible to apply for training and support service grants and USDA strongly encourages state agencies to apply. Applications are due December 8, 2016.

Psalm 5:8 - "Lead me..."

From Bible Answer Man:





Spot the Station

From NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration:




Want to #SpotTheStation in the night sky? It's easy if you know when and where to look up. Get alerts when the International Space Station flies over you:http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/