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First-ever Regional Farm to School Institute Underway in the Northeast

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 11/23/2015 - 9:00pm
This account was written by VT FEED Project Director, Betsy Rosenbluth and Shelburne Farms Public Relations and Marketing Director, Vera Chang.   As principal of Sharon Elementary School in Sharon, Vt., Barrett Williams helps his teachers integrate farm to school pedagogy into curricula by making sure they have planning time during the school day and a [...]

Go Local – Promoting Healthy Habits and Boosting Local Communities

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 11/18/2015 - 9:00pm
The following guest blog highlights Providence, Rhode Island school district’s exemplary commitment to purchase and source local food into the school meal programs. Going local economically supports RI farms and small businesses and provides opportunities for students to consume healthy, fresh foods and learn how their food is grown and promote healthy food choices. By [...]

Sowing Gardens, and Growing Kids Who Love Them

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 5:00pm
In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, guest blog writer Katie Rainwater, also a FoodCorps Service Member, shares her remarkable experience at Cherokee Central Schools, a 2014 USDA Farm to School Grantee. Guest blog by Katie Rainwater, FoodCorps Imagine this: A bright, sunny fall day in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. Fresh, organic [...]

How Sacrifice and Sense of Duty Drive Our Veterans

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 11/13/2015 - 5:00pm
I would like to take a moment to recognize the hard work and dedication of America’s veterans.  After serving our country so honorably, many of our veterans feel a sense of duty to continue to give back to the land they love and have fought so hard to protect. And we want all veterans to [...]

Bringing More Farmers Markets to Service Members

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 5:00pm
As we take time this week to honor America’s veterans, we are also thinking about how we can improve the health and welfare of military communities across the country.  That’s why we are so proud to release the first-ever Guide for Farmers Markets on Military Installations.  By assisting military installations in establishing farmers markets, the [...]

Organic Sound and Sensible Resources: Why Go Organic and Where to Start

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 11/09/2015 - 5:00pm
Last week, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program (NOP) announced new resources resulting from our Sound and Sensible Initiative, which is aimed at making organic certification more accessible, affordable, and attainable. Today, we are introducing guides, videos, and other tools – all produced by our partners in the organic community – that will [...]

Creating Opportunities for Georgia’s Produce Industry

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 5:00pm
A solid vision combined with an innovative approach to reach new markets can yield success in the ag industry. During a recent trip to Atlanta, Ga., I got a chance to talk to state and industry leaders who are using both to solidify the future of their respective organizations.    I joined a team of [...]

USDA Foods Help Nourish a Culture

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 5:00pm
USDA celebrates National Native American Heritage Month in November with a blog series focused on USDA’s support of Tribal Nations and highlighting a number of our efforts throughout Indian Country and Alaska. Traditional foods are of significant value to Native American and Alaskan Natives today.  The same foods that have been used to feed our [...]

Puerto Rico Colabora con USDA para Fortalecer los Sistemas de Alimentos Locales

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 11/03/2015 - 9:00pm
El estado libre asociado de Puerto Rico tiene solamente 100 millas de largo por 35 millas de ancho. La pequeña isla está llena de maravillas naturales, rica en cultura y abundante en agricultura. Aun así pocos se dan cuenta que gran parte de los alimentos consumidos por los residentes y visitantes provienen de otros lugares. [...]

Puerto Rico Works with USDA to Strengthen Local Food Systems

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 11/03/2015 - 9:00pm
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is only 100 miles long by 35 miles wide. The small island is full of natural wonders, rich culture and bountiful agriculture. Yet few realize that much of the food eaten by residents and visitors alike comes from other places. Earlier this month, Puerto Rico Agriculture Secretary Dr. Myrna Comas [...]

USDA Foods: From American Farms to American Tables

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 10/27/2015 - 9:00pm
USDA has programs and services that bring the bounty of American agriculture to people and communities across the country. One of the most impactful ways my agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), fulfills its mission is through our USDA Foods purchase programs.  Our food purchases begin with American farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, and end their [...]

Sound and Sensible Initiative Projects Simplify Organic Certification

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 10/27/2015 - 9:00pm
USDA’s National Organic Program is the bedrock regulatory program responsible for developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products. These standards assure consumers that products with the USDA organic seal meet consistent, uniform standards. In addition to protecting the integrity of the organic seal through a rigorous certification process and oversight, we are committed to connecting [...]

A Student’s Perspective: How Fuel Up to Play 60 Supports Farm to School

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 10/26/2015 - 1:00pm
This post was written by Andrew, a Wisconsin seventh-grader and Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with USDA, to help encourage young people to lead healthier lives. Guest Post by Andrew, a [...]

Nationwide Census on Farm to School Activities Shows Increased Use of Local Foods in Schools

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 10/23/2015 - 1:00pm
  What can $598 million buy you these days? A lot of local food!    This week, USDA announced early results from USDA’s second Farm to School Census indicating that school districts across the country invested more than half a billion dollars in local foods in the 2013-2014 school year. That represents an increase of [...]

Fueling our Future, from Wood to Wing

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 10/22/2015 - 1:00pm
U.S. airline carriers collectively used more than 16 billion gallons of jet fuel in 2014. Given growing concerns over energy independence and the environment, commercial airlines are looking for secure and reliable alternative jet fuels that reduce global emissions. To address this problem, researchers at Washington State University formed the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) [...]

How Can We Support Affordable, Nutritious Diets? Reduce Wasted Food

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 10/20/2015 - 9:00pm
Looking for a way to stretch your food dollars?  Would an extra $30 per month for each person in your household help?  That’s about $370 per person per year, or almost $1,500 for a family of four.  That’s the amount of money USDA estimates the average American spends on food that’s not eaten.  It is [...]

Wisconsin Team Nutrition’s Whipping Up Wellness, Wisconsin Student Chef Competition

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 10/20/2015 - 9:00pm
The Team Nutrition Training Grants are awarded as part of USDA’s Team Nutrition initiative, which provides resources, training, and nutrition education lessons for schools and child care providers. And this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Team Nutrition initiative.  Wisconsin Team Nutrition has used the funding to build out their healthy cooking contest for [...]

Colorado Team Nutrition Makes School Wellness a Success

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 10/16/2015 - 5:00pm
The following guest blog describes how one state education department used a USDA Team Nutrition grant to develop training to help schools implement programs that promote student wellness and to meet updated meal standards. By Heather Hauswirth, RD, Program Specialist, Office of School Nutrition, Colorado Department of Education   In September 2014, our office, the [...]

Tales from a School Food Service Director: It’s all about the Brand

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 10/16/2015 - 5:00pm
This guest blog showcases the success story of a school food service director in an upper-class suburb of Boston.  The director discusses some of the creative methods her school meal program uses to boost participation and, thereby, promote health and nutrition in their district. By Gail Koutroubas, School Food Service Director in Andover, MA For [...]

Next Steps for Team Up for School Nutrition Success

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 10/15/2015 - 5:00pm
Over the past year, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service partnered with the Institute for Child Nutrition (ICN) to host seven regional workshops called Team Up for School Nutrition Success.  The two day, face-to-face workshops used a research-based mentorship model to educate and empower school nutrition professionals around the country. Each training was tailored to the [...]