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USDA Grants to Help Farmers, Entrepreneurs and Retailers Market Local Foods

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 5:00pm
Thanks to a recent grant from USDA, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection is now in better position to help get locally grown potatoes, carrots, apples, broccoli, and cheese onto school lunch plates. In Wisconsin, and across the nation, there is a strong interest to supply healthy, local foods to schools while [...]

Service, Partnership Key to Summer Meals Success

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 5:00pm
The following guest blog highlights the partnership between USDA and the Corporation for National and Community Service, which leverages the service-oriented energy of AmeriCorps summer associates to expand and enhance USDA summer meal sites for children in low-income communities.  USDA summer meals fill the hunger gap for the over 21-million children across the country who [...]

Research Shows that Farm to School Works!

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 1:00am
Happy National Farm to School Month! Every October, the USDA Farm to School team is overwhelmed with stories of how farm to school programs are affecting kids, producers, and communities. Having now made 221 grants to school districts and other entities across the country to pursue projects that bring more local foods into schools and [...]

Recess Before Lunch – The Secret Ingredient of Montana’s School Lunch Program

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 5:00pm
The following guest blog showcases Montana Team Nutrition and their excellent work implementing their Recess Before Lunch (RBL) program. Through this initiative Montana students enjoy active play right before indulging a nutritious school lunch meal allowing them to return to class ready for academic success. By: Katie Bark, RD, LN, SNS (Project Director Montana Team [...]

NIFA-Funded Obesity Prevention Project Sparks Community-wide Health Changes

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 5:00pm
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. What started as a project to test the effectiveness of childhood obesity prevention methods has turned into a community-wide effort and a new culture [...]

A Special Invitation from Deputy Secretary to Join a Google+ Hangout on Veteran Farmers

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 5:00pm
On Monday, I had the opportunity to meet with several inspiring Service members and launch an expanded collaboration between USDA and the Department of Defense at a Transition Assistance Program class hosted at the Pentagon. This collaboration will integrate agriculture into the career training and counseling programs Service members receive as they transition out of [...]

No Books Required for Back-to-School Night at USDA Farmers Market on Friday, September 18

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 5:00pm
It’s “Back-to-School Night” at the USDA Farmers Market on Friday, September 18, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., in Washington, D.C., near the National Mall.  This month’s educational exhibitors and vendors will appeal to students of any age.  Market visitors can learn more about healthy eating, reducing food waste or take a trip down memory lane [...]

Team Nutrition Grant Brings Nutrition Education to More Than 13,000 Kansas Students in School Year 2014-2015

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 09/15/2015 - 5:00pm
The following guest blog highlights the creative and successful Team Nutrition curriculum in Kansas. Thanks to a Team Nutrition training grant, the state has been able to implement the curriculum in many of their school districts. Kansas students are now receiving the nutrition education they need to thrive in school and empower their classmates. By [...]

USDA’s Commitment to Quality Foods

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 09/11/2015 - 5:00pm
Across the country, schools are back in session. Here at the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), our inspectors and procurement specialists work hard to make sure that quality, domestically-produced foods are delivered to students and other recipients for our federal food purchasing programs. As students are getting used to their new schedules, we would like [...]

Child Nutrition: The Key to Creating the Healthiest Nation

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 09/10/2015 - 5:00pm
The following guest blog highlights the important work of our partner the American Public Health Association (APHA). The association is a tireless advocate working to create the healthiest nation. APHA strives to reach that goal through science-based research, and education. By Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director, American Public Health Association As kids across the [...]

Community Eligibility: Flexibility is Key

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 09/09/2015 - 5:00pm
There’s been a lot of talk over the last several years about the nutrition of school meals – where the ingredients come from, how they’re prepared, what the food tastes like, and how the meal is presented.  These are all important conversations for elevating the quality of school food service and improving the health and [...]

Food Insecurity in U.S. Households Essentially Unchanged from 2013, but Down from 2011 High

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 09/09/2015 - 5:00pm
USDA’s recently released annual report on the incidence and severity of food insecurity in American households marks 20 years of Federal statistics measuring U.S. food insecurity. This year’s report, presenting 2014 data, shows that 86.0 percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year, meaning that all household members had access at all [...]

New York State of Mind: Empowering Women and Creating Local Food Opportunities

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 5:00pm
The future of agriculture depends on the next generation of farmers and ranchers.  That’s why the Department of Agriculture is committed to creating more opportunities for new and beginning farmers and removing barriers for women and minority farmers. To advance these priorities, I traveled to Syracuse, N.Y., last week, where I was joined by my [...]

School Embraces Nutrition Standards to the Culinary Delight of Its Students

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 09/01/2015 - 5:00pm
Locally-sourced fish baked in fresh herbs and oil topped with a fresh cilantro slaw…It sounds like a dish from a five star restaurant, but it’s just one of many recipes registered dietitian and director of nutrition services Jenn Gerard offers students for lunch in her California school district. Learn how Monterey Peninsula Schools embraced the [...]

Team Up Training Fosters Healthier Schools, Empowers School Nutrition Professionals

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 5:00pm
The following guest blog highlights the success story of one of our nation’s school nutrition change agents. As a recent participant and lead mentor in USDA’s Team Up for School Nutrition Success Initiative, Richard Miles provided best practices and strategies to ensure his peers have the tools they need to manage successful school meal programs. [...]

Community Eligibility: Navigating Speed Bumps on the Way to Success

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 5:00pm
When the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act authorized the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), schools in high-poverty areas gained another important tool to fight childhood hunger.  By the end of school year 2014-15, the first year CEP was available nationwide, more than half of all eligible schools had already jumped on board.  Low-income schools of all kinds [...]

Back to School Checklist: Fruits and Veggies

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 5:00pm
Fruits and vegetables are at the top of USDA’s back to school list, and just in time for the new school year, the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables is making it easier for schools in eight states to purchase them. The 2014 Farm Bill authorizes the pilot in not more than [...]

School Lunch Equipment Grants Help Provide Healthier Meals to Students Nationwide

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 5:00pm
USDA supports our tireless school nutrition professionals as they work to provide kids the nutrition they need to learn and develop into healthy adults. To further assist schools, USDA announced the availability of $25 million in National School Lunch Program (NSLP) equipment grants for Fiscal Year 2015. These grants help schools obtain much needed infrastructure [...]

School Breakfast Program Provides Increasing Number of Meals

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 5:00pm
Sometimes called the “most important meal of the day” for school-aged children, breakfast is available at nearly 90,000 schools across the country courtesy of USDA’s School Breakfast Program. On an average school day in fiscal 2014, some 13.5 million students participated. The Economic Research Service (ERS) illustrates the growth of the program in a new [...]

What’s Shaking in School Meals?

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 5:00pm
What’s shaking in USDA’s school meals programs?  Delicious and nutritious food, that’s what!  Healthy food does not have to be bland or boring.  There’s more to creating a tasty meal than just dousing food in dressing or layering on salty sauces.  It’s easy to make your dish pop without adding excess sodium.  Many schools around [...]