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Secretary’s Column: Growing Opportunity for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers and Ranchers

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 4:51pm
The recent Census of Agriculture shows that there is tremendous potential for growth among the smaller producers that make up the middle of American agriculture, but they need our support to get there. That can mean a lot of different things. Some small and mid-sized farms and ranches are happy just the way they are, [...]

Strengthening Families’ Healthy Eating Habits for 40 Years

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 4:51pm
During March, National Nutrition Month, USDA will highlight various nutrition topics that are near and dear to our hearts. We don’t work on these issues alone however. This guest blog post acknowledges the important contribution of the Nation WIC Association and their role in supporting a healthier next generation. Guest post by Samantha Lee of [...]

USDA Helps Farmers Make Creative Connection with Students

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 10:47pm
Remember when you were a child and kids would sit around memorizing baseball stats and trading cards or perhaps you’re a bit younger and the big thing was trading Pokémon cards? Well, I’m predicting the next big thing will be Farmer Trading Cards! In November, I attended the Virginia Farm to Table Conference and on [...]

Building a Healthier Future Through Partnership

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 4:44pm
On March 12-14 the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) will host their 2014 Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington, DC. Dr. Janey Thornton, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS), will be in attendance on behalf of USDA. “I’m thrilled to see so many partners coming together in support of [...]

Expanding Healthy, American-Produced Food Offerings to Our Schools – USDA’s Pilot Program for Greek-Style Yogurt

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 4:38pm
The USDA Foods program offers a wide variety of nutritious, 100 percent domestically produced food to help the nation’s schools feed our children and support U.S. agriculture. Each state participating in the National School Lunch Program annually receives a USDA Foods entitlement, which may be spent on any of the over 180 foods offered on [...]

Stay Healthy at College with MyPlate On Campus

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 4:32pm
Cross-posted from the blog: In March 2013, the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion launched the MyPlate On Campus initiative to help spread healthy eating messages to young adults during their college years. What makes MyPlate On Campus unique is that it not only empowers students to improve their own eating and physical [...]

Better Nutrition Leads to a Better Life, Thanks to USDA Research

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 4:32pm
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. All month long, USDA will highlight how employees and agencies in many different disciplines and agencies all work together with the common goal [...]

Healthy Breakfast, Healthy Future

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 4:32pm
Cross posted from the Huffington Post: Last Friday, I celebrated School Breakfast Week with a lively group of students at William H. Hunter Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was joined by the Philadelphia Superintendent of Schools and various state officials as I participated in an event which emphasized the important role of the USDA [...]

Secretary’s Column: New Farm Bill and 2015 Budget Expand Opportunity in Rural America

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 03/07/2014 - 2:49pm
This week, President Obama released USDA’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, which supports our ongoing work to create jobs and opportunity in rural America. The budget builds on the new opportunities available to us through the recently-passed 2014 Farm Bill to achieve reform and results for the American taxpayer; foster opportunity for the men and [...]

Child Hunger and the Importance of Keeping Our Communities Healthy and Strong

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 03/07/2014 - 2:49pm
During March, National Nutrition Month®, USDA will highlight various nutrition topics that are near and dear to our hearts. We don’t work on these issues alone however. This guest blog post acknowledges one USDA National Strategic Partner, Feeding America, for the outstanding work they do to address childhood hunger and food insecurity and promote MyPlate. [...]

International School Meals Day 2014: Celebrating the Importance of Nutrition, Health and Learning Worldwide

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 03/06/2014 - 8:43pm
Visiting schools around the country to discuss the importance of health and nutrition with students and educators is one of the favorite parts of my job.  Today, I had the opportunity to share these nutrition messages globally!  On this day, USDA recognized the second annual International School Meals Day (ISMD), where schools around the world [...]

Opportunities for Local Foods Expanding In Iowa

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 03/06/2014 - 2:40pm
All across the country local and regional food systems provide a wealth of opportunities for rural residents.  They provide opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and producers to meet growing customer demand for local foods. Local food entrepreneurs are starting to start small businesses like food processing, distribution and retail markets. Local and regional food systems are [...]

USDA Publications Shine on Government Bookstore Bestseller List

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/04/2014 - 8:19pm
The U.S. Government Bookstore, the place where you can buy the 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar for $20 or a loose-leaf copy of the Export Administration Regulation 2013 edition for $199, released its list of best-selling publications for 2013 that includes several items published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Why Would Anyone Cut A Tree Down?” [...]

School Breakfast Week, International School Meals Day Kick off National Nutrition Month

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/04/2014 - 8:19pm
To kickoff National Nutrition Month, USDA is again celebrating National School Breakfast Week (March 3 – 7) to support the health and well-being of our nation’s children.  National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to highlight the essential role nutrition plays in sustaining healthier lives.  A well-balanced breakfast serves as an important first step to [...]

USDA Celebrates National Nutrition Month and Highlights Efforts to Promote a #HealthierNextGen

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 03/03/2014 - 2:06pm
Today, as we mark the beginning of National Nutrition Month and the start of National School Breakfast Week, and throughout this month, USDA will be highlighting the work of our programs and partner organizations that support a healthier next generation by improving childhood nutrition and reducing obesity, supporting healthy families, enhancing food access, ensuring food [...]

Enhanced School Wellness Environments Make the Smart Choice the Easy Choice for a Healthier Next Generation

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 02/28/2014 - 7:32pm
Given that many children today eat two meals a day at school, it’s vital that we make every effort to ensure that they have access to the healthy foods they need and the knowledge to make healthy choices. The proposed school wellness policy guidelines and the expansion of community eligibility announced by First Lady Michelle [...]

Secretary’s Column: Another Step Forward Towards a Healthier Next Generation

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 02/28/2014 - 1:29pm
This week at USDA, we took several steps forward in the fight for a healthier future for our nation’s children. On Tuesday, we rolled out new proposed guidelines that will make sure only healthy foods and beverages are allowed to be marketed to kids at school. The new guidelines will ensure that schools remain a [...]

USDA Then and Now: Part IV

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 02/27/2014 - 7:19pm
Thanks for tuning in this month to our installments of USDA Then and Now photo series on the amazing innovations that have helped rural America grow and respond to a constantly evolving agricultural landscape. Here you can see Part I, Part II, and Part III. In our fourth and final Then and Now, we look to [...]

Organic 101: Ensuring Organic Integrity through Inspections

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 1:01pm
This is the fifteenth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations. USDA certified organic products are produced and sold around the world, many originating from over 17,700 organic operations right here in the United States. The USDA organic label assures consumers that products have been produced through approved [...]

MyPlate Celebrates the 4th Anniversary of Let’s Move

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 02/24/2014 - 6:32pm
Four years ago, the First Lady launched Let’s Move!, to help Americans create a healthier future.  To celebrate, First Lady Michelle Obama is asking individuals, families and communities to Show Us How You Move! Use the hashtag #LetsMove to share the steps you’re taking to live healthier. From climbing the stairs instead of the elevator [...]