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California Food for California Kids, Especially on Thursdays

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 05/07/2014 - 10:48am
I collect aprons like other people collect coins. There are dozens hanging in my kitchen, so many I suspect several have never actually been used. So it was with some self-consciousness that I accepted yet another apron last fall from the Center for Ecoliteracy. The Center was handing out hundreds of aprons to California school [...]

The Heroism of Fostering a Healthier Next Generation

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:46pm
Cross posted from the Huffington Post: As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Nowhere is this more evident than in our nation’s schools. Each day, millions of America’s young people are educated, fed and nurtured in these academic “villages.” A crucial aspect of each child’s education is learning how to [...]

Developing National Dietary Guidance for the Birth to 24 Months Age Group

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 10:46pm
Good nutrition is vital to optimal infant and toddler growth, development, and health. The importance of this age group has been emphasized by First Lady Michelle Obama, who said that “If our kids get into the habit of getting up and playing, if their palates warm up to veggies at an early age, and if [...]

School Nutrition Professionals – Our Everyday Heroes

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 05/02/2014 - 10:21am
As the school year begins to wind down, let’s take time to acknowledge the unsung heroes in our nation’s school cafeterias.  School nutrition employees contribute greatly to a child’s short- and long-term health and academic success, but their contributions often go without recognition.  Today is School Lunch Hero Day, and next week (May 5-9) is [...]

FNS Uses Research to Protect Taxpayer Dollars

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 04/30/2014 - 10:09am
During the month of April we will take a closer look at USDA’s Groundbreaking Research for a Revitalized Rural America, highlighting ways USDA researchers are improving the lives of Americans in ways you might never imagine, while ensuring that our program are effective and well managed. For Federal nutrition assistance programs to succeed over the [...]

Expanding Opportunities for Small-Scale Beef Producers

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 04/29/2014 - 4:05pm
Sometimes big things come in small packages.  At USDA, we provide programs and services to producers of all sizes – and now we’re offering even more to small-scale and local beef producers.  Many small-scale producers are contributing to the growth of the grass-fed beef industry.  And, thanks to a new program tailored to meet their [...]

USDA’s Nutrition Evidence Library: Answering Food and Nutrition Questions with Systematic Reviews

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 04/28/2014 - 3:58pm
During the month of April we will take a closer look at USDA’s Groundbreaking Research for a Revitalized Rural America, highlighting ways USDA researchers are improving the lives of Americans in ways you might never imagine, such as laying the foundation for evidence-based food and nutrition policies and programs by compiling and reviewing the best [...]

How Research Shapes Vital Nutrition Programs

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:20pm
During the month of April we will take a closer look at USDA’s Groundbreaking Research for a Revitalized Rural America, highlighting ways USDA researchers are improving the lives of Americans in ways you might never imagine, such as using research to inform policy decisions about our nutrition assistance programs, which reach 1 in 4 Americans. [...]

Experience Earth Day with USDA

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 04/22/2014 - 3:03pm
Earth Day is a reminder that some of our best moments can be spent in the great outdoors. Getting outside is one of the best ways to feel re-invigorated, whether on a short hike to the Crags Trail on Pike National Forest or on a longer exploration of the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail, which winds through [...]

Farm Bill Listening Session: New and Expanding Opportunities for the Organic Industry

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 2:45pm
Organic agriculture serves as an engine for rural development, representing a $35 billion industry in the United States alone. USDA is committed to protecting the integrity of organic products, and ensuring that all of our agencies work together to help the organic sector continue to grow. Members of the organic community are important partners in [...]

Secretary’s Column: Farm Bill Supports Specialty Crop Growers, Improves Access to Healthy Food

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 2:45pm
The 2014 Farm Bill has already set in motion and accomplished so much for our country. With historic support for specialty crop producers across the country, the bill will touch every one of our lives through one of the most basic of human needs: food. Specialty crops make up the bulk of what we eat—all [...]

Local Combines with American Grown

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 2:33pm
Quickly assembling tortilla wraps for hungry students is a hard job. I learned this first hand recently at Stone Spring Elementary in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Mary Lou, Ott and Jean, the cafeteria staff responsible for preparing and serving school meals every day, took control of the kitchen, quickly assembling 300 turkey wraps while I clumsily tried [...]

Where Do Kids Eat When School is out in Summer? FNS Partners with the Department of Education to Find Solutions

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 2:06pm
As we approach the summer season, USDA is vigorously preparing to fill the nutrition gap faced by millions of kids across the country. While 21 million of our sons and daughters receive free and reduced-priced lunches during the school year, only a small percentage participate in the summer meals programs, leaving too many of our [...]

Farmers Market Managers: Update or Add Your Listing to the National Directory

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 7:24pm
Located in Virginia’s horse country, just an hour outside of Washington, DC, is the historic town of Middleburg. Deeply embedded in the town’s roots is a vibrant agricultural sector that is the driving force behind this small community’s success. Each Saturday morning from the spring through the fall, you can find a variety of fresh [...]

Secretary’s Column: USDA Science You Can See

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:44pm
While most people have a mental image of research that involves scientists in lab coats, bubbling test tubes and beakers, and technical language that can seem complex, much of the groundbreaking research conducted by USDA scientists actually ends up on your plate, in your home, or on your back. Their discoveries in the lab truly [...]

Coming Together to Improve Human Nutrition

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 6:28pm
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. During the month of April we will take a closer look at USDA’s Groundbreaking Research for a Revitalized Rural America, highlighting ways USDA [...]

MyPlate On Rutgers Campus

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 6:23pm
The MyPlate On Campus initiative, USDA’s effort to promote healthy eating on college campuses nationwide through peer-to-peer education, launched 1 year ago. In that time, nearly 2,000 students, representing all 50 states, have joined the cause by becoming MyPlate On Campus Ambassadors. It has been exciting to watch it grow and see the creative ways [...]

Grandparents Help Kids Develop Good Eating Habits

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 12:21pm
Grandkids are a grandparent’s greatest treasure.  From time to time during grandchildren’s young lives, grandparents may have the pleasure of being their caregiver.  Show them how to be healthy, including how to make healthy food choices–an important way grandparents show how much they love and care about their grandchildren. As a proud grandmother, I can [...]

USDA Foods Get Even Greener

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 6:11pm
St. Patrick’s Day might be over, but at USDA we’re still sporting our green.  That’s because of the success of one food in particular—a vegetable underdog: broccoli!  As one of the newest additions to the USDA Foods lineup, AMS purchased 6.87 million pounds (nearly $7.6 million) of broccoli during FY 2013, and FY 2014 purchasing [...]

Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Recipe Contest

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 12:09pm
Who will represent your state at the 3rd Annual White House Kids’ State Dinner?  It could be your child showing off his or her creativity and culinary talents in front of the First Lady and people from around the country.  First Lady Michelle Obama, the USDA, the U.S. Department of Education, and Epicurious have once again [...]