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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Blog
Updated: 4 hours 38 min ago

Celebrating the Blueberry – A Fruit and an Industry That Really Packs a Punch

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 6:00pm
Blueberries are often highly sought after because of their long list of health benefits and their sweet taste. Whether purchased fresh, frozen, or pureed, the blueberry has long been a staple in the diets of many people. Every July, the entire nation celebrates Blueberry Month by coming up with creative recipes and other unique ways [...]

Education Support Professionals – Partners in School Nutrition

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 2:00pm
The USDA school meals programs serve well over 30 million students per day, nationwide.  We rely on our partners in the education realm to help us ensure that these programs—not only programs of great magnitude, but also of great public health importance—are implemented appropriately so that children are healthy and ready to learn.  This week’s [...]

Partnering with Retailers and Food Manufacturers to Make Healthy Choices Easier

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 6:00pm
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. Achieving a good diet requires access to nutritious food, but it also requires good choices from among the many thousands of products available [...]

What’s On Your Plate This Fourth of July?

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 11:00am
Happy Birthday America! It’s the Fourth of July and time to celebrate American life. What do you have planned? A family reunion at the beach? A backyard barbeque with family and friends? A picnic in the park? Or a few friends on your patio? Here are some quick and easy tips to make your family’s [...]

Opening New Markets, Expanding Menu Choices

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 8:00pm
America’s ag promotion groups work to educate consumers, as well as research and promote our nation’s agricultural products. Whether potatoes or pork, mangos or cotton, soybeans or almonds, ag promotion groups help consumers make informed choices and learn about new products. Although all ag promotion groups do have a similar goal and purpose – to [...]

SNAP Achieves Record High Payment Accuracy Rate for Seventh Year in a Row

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 8:00pm
Each year, as required by the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, USDA issues the payment accuracy rate for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) nationally and state by state. I’m happy to announce that the fiscal year (FY) 2013 SNAP payment accuracy rate is an impressive 96.8 percent.  This is an all-time high, and is [...]

The Food Bank-Food Hub Connection: A ‘Win-Win’ for Local Economies

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 8:45pm
Across the country, food banks are committed to providing healthy food for those in need. Food banks also have a vested interest in building stronger local economies and creating additional opportunities for the communities they serve. There are currently more than 200 food banks in the country, with more than 63,000 affiliated agencies like (food [...]

Secretary’s Column: Local Markets, Local Growth

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 5:29pm
Many consumers want to “buy local” and support their local economy with their purchases. When local food marketing opportunities exist for rural producers, they cause ripple effects throughout the rural economy. The 2012 Census of Agriculture results indicate that nearly 150,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide are selling their products directly to consumers, and 50,000 are [...]

June is Dairy Month – a Time to Say Thanks to America’s Milk Producers

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 11:26am
The next time you eat a cheese sandwich, drink a glass of cold milk, have an ice cream cone or a cup of yogurt on a walk through the park, thank the dairy farmers who made it all possible.  Now is a great time to do that because June is Dairy Month. The dairy industry [...]

The Win-Win Situation of Selling Food to USDA

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 5:23pm
USDA’s purchase programs were created to support our nation’s farmers through the purchase of domestic products and to increase Americans’ access to nutritious food.  Many businesses who sell to USDA find that the programs also create other opportunities for growth. Companies like Wawona Frozen Foods have used the Commodity Purchase Program, administered by USDA’s Agricultural [...]

Let’s Move Outside All Summer Long

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:22am
Summer is fast approaching but packing up the kids to head outside could be daunting, especially for those whose experience with outdoor activities is limited. But don’t worry. With a little help and some simple planning, the whole crew will want to unplug and find activities that will invigorate not just the body, but the [...]

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 [...]