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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Blog
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Back to Healthy School Meals: USDA Congratulates Six States for Nearly 100% of Schools Meeting New Meal Standards

Fri, 08/16/2013 - 2:34pm
As we continue to combat childhood obesity in America, I am proud to say that this Back to School season our school cafeterias are at the heart of offering great nutrition for our kids. Students and schools are embracing the healthier lunches offered through the National School Lunch Program that, together with the healthier breakfasts [...]

What Does It Cost to Raise a Child?

Wed, 08/14/2013 - 8:15pm
How much will that little bundle of joy cost? According to USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child report, the answer for a child born in 2012 is $241,080 for food, shelter and other necessities over the next 17 years, which translates to about $301,970 when adjusted for inflation! Speaking as a father and a grandfather, [...]

Ready, Set, Learn: USDA Lessons for Our Nation’s Next Generation

Wed, 08/14/2013 - 2:13pm
It’s that time of year! Back to school season is upon us and agencies across the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working to ensure a stronger and healthier future for our nation’s next generation of leaders. That means providing a happy and healthy learning environment for our kids, and helping them grow up with [...]

Next Year at School: New Standards Point to Healthier Snacks and Other Competitive Foods

Tue, 08/13/2013 - 8:07pm
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. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, “competitive foods” in schools will be subject to new nutritional standards. Competitive foods include à la carte cafeteria [...]

MyPlate Goes To College

Mon, 08/12/2013 - 7:55pm
The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion launched a new initiative this past March, MyPlate On Campus, to help spread healthy eating messages to young adults during their college years.  MyPlate On Campus is a unique program that encourages students to improve their own eating and physical activity habits as well as promote healthy [...]

“USDA Tender” – A Cooperative Effort with the U.S. Beef Industry

Mon, 08/12/2013 - 1:51pm
Tenderness is one of the most significant factors affecting the overall consumer acceptance of beef cuts.  Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Beef Quality Grading program is a useful tool in predicting overall consumer acceptance of beef, other factors besides those assessed by the USDA Quality Grading System affect beef tenderness.  In other words, [...]

Back to School with MyPlate Kids’ Place

Mon, 08/12/2013 - 1:51pm
Back-to-school is an exciting time of year that provides new opportunities for teaching and learning.  The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion offers great nutrition resources for young children, parents, and educators for this upcoming school year.  ChooseMyPlate.gov now features MyPlate Kids’ Place, a new section of the website designed for children between the [...]

Cultural Sustainability through Farmers Markets

Fri, 08/09/2013 - 4:32pm
In agriculture, we talk a lot about sustainability.  As a method of growing crops, caring for ecosystems like forests or wetlands, or even the economic sustainability of businesses—we look at this word from all angles.  But there’s another component to consider: cultural sustainability. As a nation of immigrants, we have many rich and complex influences [...]

Farmers in Alabama Reach More Customers with Electronic Benefit Transfer

Fri, 08/09/2013 - 4:32pm
What Agriculture Under Secretary Concannon calls a win-win situation, is taking root in rural Alabama with help from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and state officials.  Local farmers’ markets are getting authorized to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards which will allow them to expand their customer base and offer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) [...]

Secretary’s Column: Celebrating America’s Farmers Markets

Fri, 08/09/2013 - 4:32pm
Over the first week of August, local markets across the country celebrated National Farmers Market Week. Farmers markets are an important part of America’s diverse agriculture sector, providing unique benefits to communities across our nation. They give Americans a chance to learn about agriculture by meeting some of the people who grow and raise our [...]

SNAP Combats Food Insecurity, Improves Long-Term Health Outlook for Low-Income People

Thu, 08/08/2013 - 4:26pm
USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is America’s first line of defense against hunger and new research released today makes it clear that SNAP improves food security, particularly among low-income children. The study, funded by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and conducted by researchers at Mathematica Policy Research, found that participating in SNAP for about [...]

Farmers Markets: Teaching Kids Where Food Comes From

Thu, 08/08/2013 - 10:23am
“We become what we repeatedly do.” In his Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens Sean Covey used these words to help young students preparing to attend college and join the workforce, but they also apply to how children learn to eat healthy. Through innovative programs like the Power of Produce (POP) Club, farmers markets across [...]

Turning the Tide on Early Childhood Obesity

Wed, 08/07/2013 - 4:17pm
Here at USDA, we’re on a mission to help all of our nation’s children have the best possible chance at a healthy life.  So, we’re very encouraged by some recent news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):  the rate of obesity among low-income pre-school children appears to be declining for the first [...]

“Meet Me at the Market” – The Evolution of a Farmers Market

Wed, 08/07/2013 - 4:17pm
What better time than National Farmers Market Week to explore the history of farmers markets in the United States?  Farmers markets are a critical ingredient to our nation’s food system, and date back to 1730 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the United States. “Meet me at the Market” has for decades been a phrase commonly heard [...]

Farm to School Is An Important Ingredient in the Recipe For Success in Purvis, Mississippi

Wed, 08/07/2013 - 4:17pm
“Our farm to school program helps our district offer more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis,” said Julie Hamilton, school food service director of operations/training for Lamar County Schools in Purvis, Miss.  “Being exposed to more choices, the young students will learn to like them and make healthier food choices over their lifetimes.” Offering [...]

Historically Black Colleges and Universities Help Feed Kids During the Summer

Wed, 08/07/2013 - 10:06am
Although about 21 million children nationwide receive free and reduced-priced meals through our National School Lunch Program, only about 3.5 million meals are served through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) on a typical day. Closing this gap and ensuring that disadvantaged children do not go hungry during the summer months is a goal that [...]

A Small Business Dream Built on a Farmers Market

Tue, 08/06/2013 - 4:00pm
My mom raised five kids, taught high school chemistry for 15 years and then retired back to the family farm in 1986. Her new life on the farm depended on the Salisbury, MD farmers market where she sold daylilies.  The farmers market, just one of 8,000 or more markets listed in USDA’s National Farmers Market [...]

Farmers Markets as Community Centerpieces

Mon, 08/05/2013 - 3:52pm
Farmers markets have become a critical ingredient to our nation’s economy, food systems, and communities. Connecting rural to urban, farmer to consumer, and fresh ingredients to our diets, farmers markets are becoming economic and community centerpieces in cities and towns across the U.S. Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to kick off National Farmers [...]

Enjoy Foods from Many Cultures with MyPlate

Fri, 08/02/2013 - 11:14am
The summer months often present more leisure time for families and friends to gather together.  These celebrations, like celebrations throughout the year, usually involve food. The USDA wants to make sure that your festive meals are healthy and that’s why the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) has released a new resource offering 10 [...]

NIFA Grant Addresses Climate Issues Related to Beef Cattle Production

Thu, 08/01/2013 - 5:09pm
Today, I am on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. When I visit universities across the nation, I look forward to meeting with faculty and students to hear about the work they are doing. On this particular visit, I am excited to meet with a research team working on an issue important to [...]

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