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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Blog
Updated: 7 hours 52 min ago

Behind the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative: Matt Russell

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 1:00pm
“The term ‘farm to school’ involves thinking of the whole plate, so to speak. It’s about increasing the amount of local and regional foods served in school cafeterias while also increasing education and community outreach for kids, and creating market opportunities for producers.” So says Matt Russell, Grant Program Manager for the Farm to School [...]

FNS Requests Feedback to Strengthen Program Integrity, Improve Technology

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 1:00pm
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is committed to supporting struggling families and helping the most vulnerable Americans put food on the table.  Today, over 60 percent of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants are children, elderly, or have disabilities.   The WIC program – officially known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and [...]

Feed Thy Neighbor: South LA Youth Use Neighborhood Gardens to Educate, Better Community Health

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 9:00pm
It began with the desire of a group of South Los Angeles high school students to increase access to more effective nutrition education at their school.  They started small—a monthly guest speaker, bags of veggies, cutting boards, and nutrition education. Now, their efforts have blossomed and manifested into RootDownLA, a community food project operating in [...]

Lessons Learned from Farm to Summer Successes

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 9:00pm
As the school year draws to a close, many program operators that help keep our nation’s children nourished and active are just ramping up. When school is out, many school districts and an array of nonprofit partners step up to offer healthy summer meals through USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option.  [...]

Serving More Summer Meals in Rural and Tribal Areas

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 9:00pm
Cross-posted from the White House Rural Council blog: During the school year, over 21 million children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch each day through the USDA’s National School Lunch Program. But, when school is out, many children who rely on these meals go hungry. The challenge is particularly great in rural areas and [...]

Just In: Check Out MyPlate Video Search Results

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 9:00pm
It is an exciting time for kids to get creative with nutrition! Last week, the top kid chefs from the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge were announced, and students across the country are Cooking up Change and getting connected to school food. The CheckOut MyPlate Video Search provided another opportunity for kids to showcase their creative [...]

Talking All Things Produce at the United Fresh Convention & Expo

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 9:00pm
The saying goes that change is the only thing that is constant. That certainly is the case in the produce industry where businesses are always looking to streamline processes and introduce new products to the market. Since my agency — the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) — provides services that facilitate marketing opportunities for the [...]

School Garden Brings Local Foods, Agriculture Education into Students’ Lives

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 1:00pm
One of the best parts of my job as a Farm to School Regional Lead for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is visiting schools and districts that are bringing local foods into the cafeteria and teaching students where their food comes from. And I am always particularly excited when I get to visit programs [...]

The Results Are In: Judging the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 1:00pm
This spring, kids from across the country honed their culinary and nutrition skills to participate in the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, and the wait is over to find out who received the top spot from each of the 50 states, four U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. The winners of the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge [...]

Bringing the Farm to the City: How a Local Land Grant University is Supporting a Different Kind of Agriculture

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 1:00pm
This year I have had the pleasure of visiting a number of urban agriculture operations. From California to Cleveland, the ability of individuals to realize the multidimensional benefits of agricultural production and leverage them in an urban context has been nothing short of amazing. This past week I visited a University that is heavily involved [...]

Celebrating Small Cities Month

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 1:00pm
June is Small Cities Month, an opportunity to celebrate the unique and important role our smaller communities play in our rural economy and making our nation a great place to live and work.  Leaders in innovation and entrepreneurship often hail from small cities and their residents are proud of their hometowns. USDA partners with communities [...]

Let the Good Times Flow for National Dairy Month!

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 1:00pm
June is an eventful and versatile month—the start of warm summer days, school vacations, and holidays like Father’s Day and Flag Day.  We also celebrate many unusual observances in June such as Heimlich Maneuver Day, National Yo-Yo Day, and National Donut Day. But who can enjoy a donut without a nice, cold glass of milk? [...]

Closing the Summer Hunger Gap for Kids in Rural America

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 1:00pm
Cindy Bomar is a dedicated person; she is dedicated to her job and to her various volunteer organizations.  And most of her charitable efforts are devoted to helping children, especially poor children. As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for youth in Virginia, Cindy has all too often seen the suffering of poor and neglected [...]

Summer Meal Programs Offer Nutrition, Combat Hunger for America’s Children and Teens

Fri, 05/29/2015 - 1:00pm
Cross-posted from the National Dairy Council blog: Summer vacation is something all kids look forward to, but unfortunately hunger doesn’t take a vacation. More than 21 million American children and teens depend on free or reduced-price school meals during the school year, and when school cafeterias close, many of them lose their most important source [...]

MyPlate Broadens its Reach

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 9:00pm
As part of Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) is pleased to announce the translation of the ChooseMyPlate 10 Tips resource and MyPlate icon from English into 18 additional languages. The Office of Minority Health, of the Department of Health and Human Services (OMH/HHS), and CNPP [...]

USDA, Partners Seek Creative Ways to Boost Flavor with Less Sodium for our Students

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 1:00pm
Sodium, the major nutrient found in salt, is essential to maintain blood volume, regulate water balance in cells, and aid nerve function.  According to the American Heart Association, however, too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease. Unfortunately, 90 percent of children [...]

Adding a Helping of Books to Nutritious Summer Meals

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 9:00pm
The following guest blog was submitted by Kyle Zimmer, CEO of First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides access to free and low-cost books to children in need. Many USDA summer meals sites provide not only healthy meals and snacks, but also offer physical activity and enrichment activities to keep children and teens engaged [...]

USDA Agencies, Suppliers and Vendors Taking Steps to Improve USDA Foods Purchase Process

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 1:00pm
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) commodity purchases play an important role in supporting American agriculture.  One commodity purchasing effort – the USDA Foods Program – purchases about 2 billion pounds of nutritious, domestically produced foods each year and supplies this food to families, schools, food banks, and communities nationwide, also serving as a key [...]

New Training Tracker Tool Now Available to School Nutrition Professionals

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 1:00pm
As a former school nutrition director, I can tell you that school nutrition professionals are dedicated to serving nutritious meals to their students and committed to making the new meal patterns work.  Established by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the new standards require schools to prepare healthier meals for the nearly 31 million [...]

Assisting the Organic Community through Cost Share Programs

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 9:00pm
Consumers are increasingly looking for organic products when they visit the supermarket.  Last year, organic products reached a record number of sales, accounting for over $39 billion in U.S. retail sales.  To meet consumer demand, the industry needs more organic operations to produce everything from organic milk to organic granola bars.  Thanks to support from [...]