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Creating a Healthier Next Generation and Supporting a Healthier School Day

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:22am
Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, students across America are being served meals with more fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy.  Parents can send their kids to school knowing that the healthy habits they teach at home are being reinforced at school, with breakfast and lunch menus that provide more [...]

The Healthy Eating Index: How does America Score?

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 5:21pm
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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. Have you ever heard of the Healthy Eating Index? The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) measures the quality of Americans’ food choices. At USDA [...]

Calling on Communities to Help Feed Children in Need

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 5:17pm
Cross-posted from the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships blog: With summer’s arrival, officials at the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are preparing for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). This program ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Free meals [...]

At the Intersection of Agriculture and the U.S. Military

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 5:05pm
Red, white, and blue balloons soared high above the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers and vendors at the opening of the 19th season of the USDA Farmers Market.  With echoes of the Star Spangled Banner played by the “President’s Own” Marine Band, we celebrated the service of our men and women [...]

Local Food Investments Expand Market Opportunities Coast to Coast

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 11:03am
  Last month, Secretary Vilsack announced a historic level of funding available for local and regional food: $78 million, including $48 million through USDA’s Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and $30 million through the newly-expanded Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. The 2014 Farm Bill gave USDA these and other tools and resources, [...]

USDA Farmers Market Opens with a Recipe to Honor Our Veterans

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 10:57am
I love farmers markets. The vibrant colors, enticing smells, and vivacious people make me feel so very alive and happy. Local markets also work to bring communities together.  I have been to a number of farmers markets across the U.S., but my favorite one is located right here in Washington, DC—in fact, it’s right here [...]

Join A White House Rural Council Forum on Regional Food Economies; June 9, 12:45 ET

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 4:54pm
How is investing in regional food economies an investment in rural America? How can rural America benefit from the growing demand for local food?  How are local food systems supporting the economy in your town? On Monday, June 9 at 12:45 et, the White House Rural Council will host Regional Food Economies: Building Market Opportunities [...]

Looking Back While Preparing to Move Forward with Summer Meals

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 10:52am
This week is National Summer Food Service Program Kickoff Week, an important time to emphasize USDA’s commitment to ensure children and teens have access to safe, nutritious meals when school lets out. Through the Summer Food Service Program, federal assistance is provided for state agencies and non-profit sponsors to help children in eligible high-need areas [...]

Changing the Way 650,000 Students Eat in Los Angeles

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 4:47pm
Cross posted from the Let’s Move blog: The city of Los Angeles is known all around the world for Hollywood, Beverly Hills, celebrities as well as glitz and glamour.  There are more than 125,000 millionaires and more than 20 billionaires in this city I now call home. But the reality is there is still a [...]

MyPlate Has a Game Plan for Healthy Eating on a Budget

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 4:17pm
Everyone wants to save money at the grocery store, especially those on a tight budget. The new Healthy Eating on a Budget section of empowers cost-conscious consumers to make healthy choices with insightful information about meal planning, smart shopping ideas, and creating healthy meals with simple ingredients.  Web-based trends indicate that consumers continue to [...]

Picking a Winner Part II – More Tips and Insights for Selecting Seasonal Produce

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 10:12am
We all have our own methods and traditions for selecting fresh produce, especially as the weather gets warmer and our stores and markets are full of fresh seasonal offerings. Whether it’s smelling the rind or checking the firmness of the skin, these age-old practices are all designed to help pick the winning ingredients for snacks [...]

Don’t Play Politics with our Children’s Health

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 10:09am
Cross posted from The Hill Op-Ed: Politics should never trump sound policy, particularly when it comes to our kids. Four years ago, Congress, in a strong bipartisan effort, committed to America’s children that they would enjoy healthier and more nutritious meals at school. Sadly, just as we are beginning to see the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids [...]

100+ Years of Tracking Nutrients Available in the U.S. Food Supply

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 10:03pm
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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. What’s in the food we eat? Have you ever wondered if the foods past generations ate as children were more nutritious than the [...]

USDA Relies on Feedback to Help Schools, Children Adapt to New Meal Standards

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 12:03pm
As many schools wind down for the year, USDA is gearing up for exciting new improvements designed to make the 2014-2015 school year even healthier for our nation’s future leaders.  It’s a commitment rooted in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  In that legislation, USDA is directed to update the school meals to reflect [...]

Insects for Dinner? Potential Tool in the Toolkit to Achieve Global Food Security

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 5:41pm
As an entomologist, the notion of eating insects isn’t new to me. However, for most Americans, the thought can make their stomachs churn. And yet, maybe seeing insects on their dinner plates is something Americans should get used to seeing. Yesterday, I delivered the keynote address at the Insects as Food Conference, which was hosted by the [...]

Organic 101: Understanding the “Made with Organic***” Label

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 11:39am
This is the sixteenth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations. Deciphering food labels and marketing claims can be a challenge for the average consumer.  Companies use production and handling claims as a way to differentiate their products in the marketplace. Organic is one label that most [...]

Beef Up Your Knowledge: Meat Marbling 101

Thu, 05/15/2014 - 5:35pm
Grilling season is upon us.  It’s time to enjoy that wonderful smell of meat cooking across neighborhood backyards. With so many choices available at your store and meat counter, choosing the best cut of meat for your dish can be overwhelming. With a bit of beef knowledge, you can avoid that problem, and be the [...]

Innovative Approach to Feeding At-Risk Children during Summer Shines in Florida

Thu, 05/15/2014 - 5:35pm
With summer approaching, many of our nation’s students will soon be out of school enjoying their break.  However, too many of these children may miss out on a meal they normally would receive through USDA’s school meals programs.  Thanks to an innovative approach, Florida’s at-risk children can now have meals brought to them through the [...]

Cinco de Mayo Event Offers an Opportunity to Promote Healthy Lifestyles

Wed, 05/14/2014 - 11:25am
In celebration of Cinco de Mayo last week, we here at the Food and Nutrition Service had the chance to participate in the 22nd National Cinco de Mayo Festival® Latinos Living Healthy Feria de Salud, sponsored by the League of Latino American Citizens (LULAC). The exciting event, held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., [...]

USDA’s Innovative Technology Streamlines Federal Food Purchasing Logistics

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 5:02pm
Logistics is not just a fancy buzz word; it is the oil that keeps the engine of an interconnected global market running smoothly. For U.S. food purchasing agencies, logistics means ordering, procuring, and delivering nearly 8.5 billion pounds of domestically-produced foods by successfully awarding nearly $3 billion in contracts during the last fiscal year. It [...]