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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

  1. USDA Program Builds Gardens that Benefit Communities

  2. Vaccination Awareness at Forefront in August

  3. Agriculture Portal is Clearinghouse for Statistics

Online Resources Help Prepare for Back to School

A new school year begins for many students in Indiana. Do you have all the resources and information you need to help your students succeed? The Indiana Department of Education has tools, resources, and information to help parents, students, and teachers work together to achieve academic success. Indiana’s K-12 Education Data page contains valuable resources such as profiles for Indiana schools and districts, educator license lookup, local school board members, and much more information. Parents can also sign the Parent Pledge, by which they promise be involved, caring, and accountable for their students’ success. Cooperation between parents, students, and teachers will ensure that Indiana students get the quality education they deserve. Good luck and have a safe, successful school year!  


Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Elisabeth O’Donnell
Federal Documents Librarian

Kim Brown-Harden
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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USDA Program Builds Gardens that Benefit Communities

USDA: The People's GardentSchools around the country are back in session, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop thinking about summer entirely! One great summer initiative from the USDA is the People’s Garden project. Based on Abraham Lincoln’s concept of the USDA as the “People’s Department,” the People’s Garden project establishes gardens at USDA facilities or other public areas around the country. USDA employees lend their expertise to the project by volunteering or managing the gardens.

Each garden is organic – the process to become certified organic takes up to three years and has been started in each of the gardens. While each garden also contains medicinal herbs and fibers such as flax, the bulk of the plants are fruits and vegetables. Food from each garden gets donated to local food banks.

Although the program is run by the USDA, you don’t have to work for the government to get involved! Contact your local USDA Service Center to find out how you can volunteer at an existing garden or even start up one of your own. Currently, there are nine People’s Gardens around Indiana. Check out this FAQ sheet for more information. This summer may be winding down, but it’s never too late to think about what you’ll be planting next year!

Vaccinations Awareness at Forefront in August

August is National Immunization Awareness MonthAugust is National Immunization Awareness Month. It’s not just babies and children who need their shots! This is the perfect time to encourage friends, family, and co-workers to be up-to-date on their vaccinations. While most people are aware of the measles, chicken pox, polio, and hepatitis shots expected for children, there are several others that are also important later in life. Preteens generally receive shots for diseases such as diphtheria and meningitis, and adults need to keep their tetanus shots updated every ten years. Additionally, those over the age of 65 should receive a pneumonia shot. has a toolkit that includes a great list of things you can do to get the word out. Their tips include sample tweets and media announcements as well as ideas on how your library can partner with other organizations to spread the word. For really detailed information on vaccines and when you should get them, be sure to visit the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases site. They also have a site newly redesigned for teens. This includes a detailed vaccine schedule for teens as well as immunization tips for travelling abroad.

Agriculture Portal is Clearinghouse for Statistics

USDA: National Agricultural Statistics ServiceJust in time for the State Fair. Are you or do you have any patrons looking for agricultural statistics? If so, be sure to check out the National Agricultural Statistics Service from the USDA.

If you’re looking for Indiana-specific data, you can find it here. For example, by looking at the County estimates, you will see that Montgomery County was the number one producer of soybeans in 2010 and that Elkhart County was ranked number one for cattle of that same year. However, you can also find out agriculture for other states on their Data and Statistics page. Their “Build your own query” section is very easy to use and allows you to create your own data sets and filter by commodity, location, and year. Looking for corn production in Dane County, Wisconsin from 2006? You can find it here! This is a great tool for anyone looking for concrete data on agriculture from around the country.

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