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A Thanksgiving Treat–Local Foods for Schools in a Minnesota Community

Mon, 11/19/2012 - 4:15pm
On a fall morning in Mrs. Jones’ sixth-grade class in Tracy, Minn., students are learning how to make pumpkin pudding. Instead of using a can opener to pry the lid off cans of pumpkin, a real pumpkin is being used. And not just any real pumpkin, a pumpkin that came straight from a local garden [...]

Join USDA in Helping those Affected by Hurricane Sandy

Mon, 11/19/2012 - 4:15pm
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we want to share valuable information about Federal relief efforts and resources to help those impacted in the Northeast. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is coordinating with States and partner organizations to provide disaster nutrition assistance to individuals in 14 states affected by Hurricane Sandy. To aid those [...]

USDA’s SuperTracker Receives Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government

Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:54pm
In addition to reaching over 1.4 million users, USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion now has something else to be proud of regarding its state-of-the-art SuperTracker.  On October 24, 2012, the SuperTracker Team received the 2012 Government Computer News (GCN) Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government, along with nine other awardees from local, [...]

Collaboration Key to Aiding Hurricane Sandy Victims

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 2:21pm
Tough times and dire circumstances have a longstanding history of bringing America’s communities and organizations together.  The recent storms that descended on much of the nation’s Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions have underscored these important partnerships. For many of the stricken areas, including the urban centers in the Northeast, natural disasters of this scale are relatively [...]

Feds and Farmers Feed Families in Pennsylvania

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 12:28pm
During this year’s Feds Feed Families food drive, the Schuylkill County USDA Service Center in Pennsylvania beat its last year’s total of 11,084 pounds of donated food with a new total of 19,092 pounds. Feds Feed Families is a nationwide federal employee effort to re-stock the shelves of food banks and pantries over the summer [...]

Feds Feed Families Helps End Hunger in Tennessee

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 12:28pm
The fourth annual Feds Feed Families food drive has come to a close and USDA employees helped to bolster local efforts to feed those in need in a big way.  USDA employees, farmers, and friends donated 2.77 million pounds of food this summer and the federal-government-wide total was 7.29 million pounds of food!  This week, [...]

An Advocate for Those in Need

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 12:28pm
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today made the following statement on the passing of Senator George McGovern: “Simply put, Senator George McGovern spent his life standing up for others. He honorably defended our nation during a time of war. He was a tremendous advocate for his home state of South Dakota and for all of rural [...]

Feeding Neighbors with Local Traditions

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 4:50pm
In many parts of the United States, the summer months are a time when food banks and pantries experience a higher demand alongside decreased donations.  As part of this past summer’s Feds Feed Families food drive, USDA employees in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, enthusiastically joined in the effort to help friends and neighbors struggling to put [...]

Partnerships Bolster Nutrition Messaging through “Grain Chain” Videos

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 4:50pm
The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) and its partners use a coordinated messaging approach to amplify the reach of themes and nutrition messages related to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Themes include Foods to Increase, Foods to Reduce, Balancing Calories, “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables” and “Avoid oversized portions.” [...]

The Gardeners’ Share Grows in McLean

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 10:18am
In McLean, a community tucked inside Fairfax County, not everyone can access the food they need for good health. I interviewed Julie Mendoza about her efforts to connect hungry families in McLean with fresh produce. Julie knew that Share McLean, a food pantry that serves hungry families in the area, often lacked fresh produce. As [...]

Forest Service Supply Sustenance for Feds Feed Families

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 10:18am
This week, USDA and other federal departments and agencies are recognizing the huge success of the 4th annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive. USDA employees, farmers, and friends raised a total of 2.77 million pounds of food this summer!  The U.S. Forest Service was a big part of this effort and the stories below captures a [...]

More Than 30,000 Pounds of Watermelon Collected and Donated By Earth Team Volunteers

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 10:18am
What do the National Resource Conservation Service , Farm Service Agency, Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), and 16 tons of watermelons have in common? These USDA agencies have joined together in Southeastern Missouri to donate literally tons of watermelon to the food banks in Sikeston and Cape Girardeau, Missouri. This massive donation is the [...]

Organic 101: Five Steps to Organic Certification

Wed, 10/10/2012 - 5:51pm
The USDA organic label is backed by a certification system that verifies farmers or handling facilities located anywhere in the world comply with the USDA Organic Regulations. Certification entails five steps: STEP 1: Develop an organic system plan. The organic system plan is the foundation of the organic certification process. Created by the producer or [...]

Aquaculture Supports U.S. Soy

Mon, 10/08/2012 - 3:09pm
An innovative Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)-funded program in Pakistan is not only improving local diets, but is creating jobs, training workers and helping create a thriving aquaculture industry with U.S. soy. The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program began a three-year program last September called “FEEDing Pakistan.” ASA/WISHH [...]

USDA’s Continued Investment in Innovation and Collaboration

Mon, 10/08/2012 - 3:09pm
Sometimes it can take a while to turn a good idea into a successful venture.  At USDA, we understand the value of research, and by providing resources to get things started at the local level, we often see amazing results that have positive impact for farmers, agribusinesses and consumers across the country. The Federal-State Marketing [...]

Fueling Students’ Bodies: North Beach Elementary School in Miami, Florida a Leader in Nutrition and Physical Education

Mon, 10/08/2012 - 3:09pm
North Beach Elementary School in Miami Beach, Florida was recently recognized by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service as a HealthierUS School Challenge award winner for their outstanding school meal service.  While there, we learned about the school’s wellness program which contributes significantly to a healthy learning environment. “The school wellness activities have helped lead the [...]

Specialty Crop Grants Make a Difference for Farmers and Businesses

Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:02pm
Earlier today, Secretary Vilsack announced the Specialty Crop Block Grant awards totaling $55 million dollars.  These grants will fund over 748 initiatives across the United States and its territories, and help expand opportunities for local and regional farmers. Specialty crops produced in the U.S. include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, [...]

Fuel for Success: My Sports Plate

Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:02pm
The new nutrition standards established by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act at the US Department of Agriculture represent an important step in America’s fight against childhood obesity and will help promote healthy eating habits for youth in our nation’s schools. These standards promote a balanced diet of additional fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean [...]

Ask a School Meals Expert: How are Schools Helping Students Adjust to the New School Meals?

Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:02pm
We’re continuing to answer questions we’ve received from folks about the improvements to school meals that started this school year. One concern we’ve heard is that students who may not be accustomed to eating particular foods may throw them away. We know it is important that students get the calories and nutrition they need to [...]

Secretary’s Column: Investing in America’s Rural Communities

Mon, 10/01/2012 - 5:02pm
As producers face an historic and ongoing drought today, President Obama and I are doing all we can to help farmers and ranchers mitigate its effects – while helping communities to overcome the economic challenges posed by the drought. To carry out our work on behalf of communities and producers, USDA has relied on programs [...]

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