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Fresh from the Garden

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 04/18/2012 - 4:00pm
I get to learn about a lot of great local initiatives when I make visits around the country.  On a recent trip to Dallas, I visited Metrocrest Social Services, a community resource agency in Farmers Branch, Texas, that provides services to families in crisis and helps them make plans for the future. The purpose of [...]

Community Baby Cafés: A Great Benefit for Moms, Children and Families

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 04/11/2012 - 4:10pm
As Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service, I know that our 15 nutrition assistance programs help a wide variety of people around the country. But there’s nothing like getting out of the office to personally witness the boots on the ground efforts by those who administer and promote our programs on a daily basis. [...]

Eggstra! Eggstra! Learn All About Them

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 04/11/2012 - 10:06am
Whether you prepare them for Easter dinner or as part of a Passover Seder Plate, eggs will certainly be the rave this weekend.  Coupled with egg dyeing, decorating, or hunting, it’s likely that you will find yourself searching for eggs in the super market. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) wants to pass along some [...]

Apply to Make a Difference: Farmers Market Promotion Program Grants Available

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 04/06/2012 - 10:28am
Every day, thousands of local farmers and ranchers work hard to ensure that their communities have access to a diverse range of fresh, healthy affordable foods.  While nutritious food is a cornerstone of society’s physical health, a vibrant community also includes sustainable economic opportunities.  By funding projects that support these goals, USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion [...]

USDA Participates in the UN Commission on the Status of Women

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 04/04/2012 - 3:32pm
Rebecca Blue, Acting Deputy Undersecretary for MRP; Janie Hip, Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Tribal Affairs; and Kisha Davis, White House Fellow were excited to represent USDA on the US delegation to the UN for the 56th Commission on the Status of Women. The theme this year was the empowerment of rural women and [...]

Quality Monitoring Program Expands to Olive Oil

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 04/03/2012 - 3:20pm
There have been a lot of questions over the last few years about the quality and purity of olive oil.  USDA has expanded our Quality Monitoring Program to include extra virgin and organic extra virgin olive oil.  This program already evaluates a variety of commodities including canned, frozen and certain fresh fruits and vegetables. With [...]

Support for Mothers During Women’s History Month and Beyond

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 04/03/2012 - 9:05am
March is Women’s History month, a time when we highlight everything woman.  In the midst of farming and biofuels, research and forestry would you believe that the USDA also finds time to promote breastfeeding?  The answer is absolutely!  You already know that the agency supports a myriad of nutrition programs to help make America’s children [...]

Increasing Access to Locally Grown and Healthy Food

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 03/22/2012 - 9:26am
Cross posted from the White House blog: Three years ago, I was asked to participate in the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, out of which grew the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. In May 2010, we submitted a report to the President that made a series of recommendations for addressing the challenges of [...]

Breakfast in the Classroom Has Dallas Kids Going For the Gold!

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/20/2012 - 3:58pm
When I was a kid, my mom used to tell us to eat our breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day. Well here we are decades later and there are studies that prove kids who aren’t hungry perform much better scholastically. In fact, a recent study from the Food Research and Action [...]

The Best Food Distribution Models for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers

USDA FNS Blog - Sun, 03/18/2012 - 6:54am
Small and mid-size farmers are the backbone of farmers markets, but they often face particular obstacles when trying to sell products in markets like grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, and schools.  Through the Transportation and Marketing program at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), we explored this issue in our recent study, Moving Food Along the Value [...]

Salsa, Sabor y Salud: MiPlato Celebrates the Strengths of Latino Traditions

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/13/2012 - 11:07am
How are you celebrating National Nutrition Month? An easy way to incorporate great nutrition every day is to make MyPlate your plate. You can do that at your own dining table, and you can also help others do so, as well. People across the country have been doing that for a long time by using [...]

Farming in the OC. Really.

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/13/2012 - 11:07am
On Friday, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan met with producers in America’s most significant and diverse agricultural state – California. Many people wouldn’t think of farming in Orange County, but there is significant specialty crop production just a few miles away from Disneyland. Farming in southern California’s urban environment is particularly challenging and Merrigan’s first [...]

El Servicio de Alimentos y Nutrición Presentó su Primer Webinar de SNAP en Español

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/13/2012 - 11:07am
La misión del Servicio de Alimentos y Nutrición del USDA (FNS) es proveer asistencia nutricional a todos los niños, familias y personas de bajos recursos que la necesiten para ayudarlos a estabilizarse económicamente.  Para poder lograr este objetivo, nosotros trabajamos en conjunto con una red de asociados quienes nos ayudan a combatir el hambre. Especialmente, [...]

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Hosts Its First All-Spanish Webinar on SNAP

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/13/2012 - 11:07am
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) mission is to provide all eligible children, families, and low-income individuals with the nutrition assistance they need to help them get back on their feet. In order to accomplish this goal, we work with a vast network of partners who help us in the fight to end hunger. In [...]

Secretary Vilsack Reaffirms USDA’s Commitment to Support Tribes

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 03/09/2012 - 4:08pm
It was fitting that the afternoon session of this month’s National Congress of American Indians meeting in Washington, DC, featured, as the lead speaker, former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan. After leaving office, Senator Dorgan created a center for Native American Youth and remains an advocate for improving living conditions on reservations. At the event, [...]

Ensuring Food Stamp Integrity

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 03/08/2012 - 11:51am
Cross posted from Politico: As agriculture undersecretary and a former director of state Health and Human Services departments in Maine, Oregon and Iowa, I know the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. In today’s difficult economic times, this vital program helps families across the nation put food on the [...]

SNAP – A Bridge to Success

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 03/07/2012 - 10:26am
It’s no secret that participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has experienced significant growth over the past 10 years.  In fact, the December 2011 participation showed that 46.5 million people received SNAP benefits. What has caused these increases?  During 2011, the increases were primarily due to unemployment and more people in need as [...]

Welcome to National Nutrition Month! And Start Marking your Calendar!

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/06/2012 - 3:56pm
Join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on March 8th in celebrating “What’s on My Plate?” Day and help raise public awareness of the importance of choosing nutritious foods for a healthy meal. If you haven’t already joined the network, become one of almost 6,000 of USDA’s MyPlate Community and National Strategic Partners, all of which are [...]

Secretary’s Column: Opportunity for Farmers and Ranchers

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:54pm
Two and a half years ago, I announced a new initiative here at USDA called Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food. It’s the public face of our commitment to help farmers and ranchers of all sizes take advantage of new opportunities, meet the growing demand for local and regional food and succeed in America’s diverse [...]

National Nutrition Month Brings Accessible Nutrition Information to Most Popular Meat and Poultry Products

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 03/01/2012 - 2:01pm
March is National Nutrition Month, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service is improving the way consumers receive nutritional information about the meat and poultry products they most frequently purchase.  Beginning today, ground or chopped meat and poultry products, such as ground turkey and hamburger, will be required to have nutrition facts panels on their [...]