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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Blog
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Commemorating the History of SNAP: Looking Back at the Food Stamp Act of 1964

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 1:00pm
On August 31, 1964, President Johnson signed the Food Stamp Act of 1964 as a centerpiece of his War on Poverty, which introduced numerous programs designed to improve the American quality of life for those struggling to make ends meet.  Due to the Food Stamp Act of 1964, the Food Stamp Program, now the Supplemental [...]

Empowering Students to Make the Healthy Choice the Right Choice

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 9:00pm
The following guest blog is part of our Cafeteria Stories series, highlighting the efforts of hard working school nutrition professionals who are dedicated to making the healthy choice the easy choice at schools across the country.  We thank them for sharing their stories! By Victoria Wittrock, Food Service Supervisor, West Central School District, South Dakota I’ve [...]

USDA Committee Gives Produce Industry a Powerful Voice

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 9:00pm
The fall harvest is upon us, and people all over the world are enjoying the abundance of quality fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops.  The specialty crop industry is important to USDA and plays a crucial role in the country’s economy, generating $65 billion in sales and creating more than 900,000 jobs. We recently met [...]

“True Food” and True Fun in Minneapolis

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 1:00pm
What a day! The Minneapolis Public Schools’ (MPS) third annual Farm to School Community BBQ took place under bright blue skies on a crisp early autumn day. Over 750 families and community members gathered with over 50 different organizational partners to celebrate MPS’ great work in getting local food into school cafeterias. I had the [...]

Raising the Bar: From Healthy Schools to Healthy Districts

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 1:00pm
Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Leaders Summit, where I met several inspiring school wellness champions who were eager to share their stories of success.  In today’s installment in our Cafeteria Stories series, Kimberly Norton, a principal of one of the schools honored at that event, shares [...]

Helping the American Dairy Industry Thrive

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
Last week, the 2014 World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin drew more than 70,000 dairy farmers, processors and other stakeholders from across the country and around the globe. Attendees explored exhibits featuring elite dairy cattle, the latest in dairy research, the newest farm equipment and innovations from the dairy industry service sector. High school and [...]

Growing Your Farm to School Program Has Never Been Easier

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
Healthy habits are taking root in our nation’s schools.  Thanks to an important commitment made possible by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, more of our nation’s kids are being exposed to lessons about healthy eating and learning where their food comes from.  Established as part of that legislation, USDA’s Farm to School Program [...]

USDA Backs Healthy Incentives

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
USDA is firmly committed to ensuring that all Americans have access to a safe, healthy, adequate and affordable diet. Unfortunately, our nation is facing an unprecedented nutrition crisis, with far too many Americans facing both food insecurity and obesity.  Although it seems paradoxical, the two actually go hand in hand far too often.  To reverse [...]

Successful Meeting Helps Take Produce Marketing Efforts to Next Level

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
The fruit and vegetable industry is an integral part of our country. Besides helping increase access to healthy foods, the industry generates $40 billion in sales and empowers communities by creating jobs and stimulating economies. While it’s great to notice the strength of the produce industry, it is important to remember that it is the [...]

Secretary’s Column: Farm to School Programs Create New Opportunities for Farmers

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
This October, just like every other month during the school year, school menus will feature an array of products from local and regional farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. Kids of all ages will dig up lessons in school gardens, visit farms, harvest pumpkins, and don hair nets for tours of processing facilities. Science teachers – and [...]

Continued Support for Local Food

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
Strong local food systems are one of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Vilsack’s four key pillars to revitalize rural economies.  On Monday, he announced the award of over $52 million to support local and regional food systems and the organic industry through five USDA grant programs. Most of the grants were authorized through the [...]

Embracing a New Vision of School Nutrition

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
The following guest blog is part of our Cafeteria Stories series, highlighting the efforts of hard working school nutrition professionals who are dedicated to making the healthy choice the easy choice at schools across the country.  We thank them for sharing their stories! By Alan Shannon, Public Affairs Director, Midwest Region, USDA Food and Nutrition Service, [...]

The Easy Way to Find Local Food – USDA Launches New Local Food Directories

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
What a great time of year to visit your local farmers market! From root crops such as beets, carrots and radishes to salad greens like Swiss chard, lettuce and spinach—farmers markets are full of fresh ingredients that you can use in your favorite fall recipes. My agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service, maintains the USDA’s National [...]

Nation’s Museums and Libraries Feed Minds and Bodies this Summer

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
Libraries remain a part of the fiber of American communities, with over 123,000 operating across the nation.  And in states like Idaho, libraries provided children with more than just books!  For the second straight year, the Idaho Commission for Libraries teamed up with AmeriCorps VISTAs and local summer meal sites to offer “Literacy in the [...]

Summer Meals Success, Thanks to Our Essential Partners

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
Collaborative efforts are the heart and soul of USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, and these successful partnerships were thriving across the nation this summer.   Many organizations, non-profits, schools, churches, and others have teamed with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to expand this vital program.  And now that summer has come to an end, the success [...]

Summer Food Service Program Meals with a Healthy Southern Twist

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 5:00pm
Fried chicken, sausage biscuits and fried okra are a thing of the past in the Mobile County (AL) Public School Service’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), explained Child Nutrition Director of MCPSS, Susanne Yates. “The program is providing nutritional meals that are still southern in style but meet the new nutritional standards under the Healthy, [...]

Celebrating Farmers and Communities during National Farmers Market Week

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 5:00pm
We just wrapped up the 15th annual National Farmers Market Week here at USDA. It has been an AMAZING week filled with celebrations at farmers markets across the country.  Last Friday, at our own USDA Farmers Market, we hosted hundreds of youths to introduce them to healthy back-to-school snacks; and we even had a special [...]

How FNS Partners Take Their Summer Feeding Sites to the Next Level

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 5:00pm
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service partners serve a vital role in the success of the federal Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).  These important relationships are critical to helping operate and expand summer meals and sites so that no child or teen goes hungry when school is out. Evaluating their best practices and listening to their [...]

North Carolina Campus Kicks off the School Year with a Focus on Healthy Eating

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 5:00pm
As a registered dietitian, I’m a big proponent of nutrition education for kids and adults alike. MyPlate On Campus, USDA’s initiative that promotes healthy eating on college campuses through peer-to-peer education, is a unique effort to reach young adults during a key life stage. The program now boasts over 2,300 MyPlate On Campus Ambassadors who [...]

USDA Partners with Community, Farmers Market in Eastern Kentucky: To Feed Kids and Help Farmers

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 9:00am
This week marks the 15th annual National Farmers Market Week and USDA is celebrating the achievements of the more than 8,700 markets across the county. In rural eastern Kentucky, over the summer, a remarkable thing happened in the small community of Whitesburg. Local, state and federal officials all worked together to create the first-ever USDA [...]

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