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RISE Volunteers Mentor Young Gardeners

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 10/31/2013 - 12:12pm
In 2011, Washington State University won a USDA People’s Garden School Pilot Project grant. The University used the funds to start the “Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth” project, a multi-year research project that engages elementary students in creating edible gardens in schools across the country.  School gardens are an effective way to introduce kids to healthy [...]

On the One Year Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, USDA Looks Ahead

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 10/29/2013 - 11:22am
All this week, Americans are pausing to reflect on the devastation caused when Hurricane Sandy slammed ashore on the eastern seaboard.  Over 160 people died, property was damaged, lives were disrupted, families were torn apart and jobs were affected. USDA helped the recovery effort in a number of ways, and while we are proud of [...]

Farm to School Programs Come to Life on Video

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 10/28/2013 - 5:06pm
Right before the Academy Awards I race around trying to see all the films that have been nominated. And right about now, with Farm to School Month about to come to a close, I’m feeling the same way about trying to absorb all the great information being shared this month. As the USDA Farm to [...]

Local Food Makes the Grade: Farm to School and Beyond

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 10/28/2013 - 5:06pm
If you are a regular USDA blog reader, you’ve heard about the new Farm to School Census, which shows the national farm to school footprint down to the school district level.  With farm to school purchases topping $350 million across the country and over 38,000 schools nationwide participating in farm to school activities, local food [...]

Helping SNAP Recipients Prepare for November 1st Benefit Changes

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 10/28/2013 - 5:06pm
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients will see their monthly benefits decrease beginning on November 1st. As USDA’s top official in charge of the program, I want to ensure that SNAP recipients know that this change is coming and understand what it means for you and your families. As you know, the amount of SNAP [...]

This Week At USDA – A Video Recap of Our Top Headlines

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 10/25/2013 - 4:04pm
Today we posted the first edition of a new video feature at USDA. Each week we’ll share a rundown of some of the key announcements, activities, and current events related to our work at USDA, giving you the highlights. Tune in next week, and let us know what you think of the first edition – [...]

Farm to School Helps Healthy Habits Take Root in Kids, Yields Big Results for Farmers and Ranchers

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 10/25/2013 - 4:04pm
Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released our first-ever Farm to School Census, and the results are promising: last school year, schools served locally-sourced foods to over 21 million students and re-invested over $350 million back into local economies. Farm to school programs are thriving in not only rural, but also urban [...]

Dallas Schools Look to Source School Meals within the State of Texas

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 10/24/2013 - 3:44pm
This post was written by USDA Farm to School Grantee Dallas Independent School District (ISD). Last November, the district became one of a cohort of 32 schools and districts across the country using USDA funds to spend a year planning a robust farm to school program, embedding best practices from the very start, and learning [...]

Lower-fat French Fries? You Bet!

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 10/22/2013 - 2:57pm
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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. Americans love, love, love their spuds:  In 2010, per capita consumption of potatoes in the U.S. hit almost 114 pounds, according to USDA’s Economic [...]

Nationwide Census on Farm to School Activities Shows Promising Results

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 10/22/2013 - 2:57pm
When students have experiences such as tending a school garden or visiting a farm they’ll be more likely to make healthy choices in the cafeteria. And when schools invest their food dollars in their local communities, all of agriculture benefits, including local farmers, ranchers, fishermen, food processors and manufacturers. Good news: these healthy habits are taking [...]

Taste “Tests” at School Introduce Kids to Healthy Choices

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 10/18/2013 - 1:33pm
I don’t know how many times I’ve told my children, “Go on, give it a try,” or, “Try it, you might like it.” Tired as those two phrases might be, they’re true. How do you know if you like something if you’ve never tried it? And when it comes to leafy green vegetables and third [...]

Cheney Public Schools Puts USDA Planning Grant to Work

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 10/17/2013 - 7:15pm
Cheney Public Schools (CPS) is a 7-school district in rural eastern Washington State. Of the 4,135 students who attend CPS, more than 2,000 are eligible for free and reduced price school lunch, and more than 30 percent are obese. Several years ago, realizing the need to improve child nutrition, the district began to take some [...]

USDA’s Iftar Dinner Reflects a Common Calling – Rebuilding and Strengthening Communities in Need

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 09/30/2013 - 1:03pm
As Hunger Action Month comes to a close, I am reminded of an employee event we held last month in honor of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. For many followers of the Islamic faith, the month of Ramadan – known as a time of fasting and sacrifice – is also a time of reflection.  [...]

When Schools Improve Meals, Positive Results Follow

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 09/30/2013 - 1:03pm
The last few years have seen significant improvements to the health of the school environment.  Schools across the country are increasing their efforts to prevent childhood obesity by serving healthier school meals providing more time for physical activity, and helping kids learn about proper nutrition.  It’s clear that the new, healthier school meals implemented last [...]

Organic International – Opening New Markets for American Organic Producers

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 09/26/2013 - 5:41pm
Today, we celebrate a historical announcement in the global organic community – beginning in 2014 organic products certified in Japan or in the U.S. may be sold as organic in either country. The United States has trade arrangements with several nations to facilitate the global exchange of organic products. This particular partnership will streamline access [...]

Food Safety and Chicken Served in the National School Lunch Program

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 09/25/2013 - 11:24pm
In response to a recent report about chicken served in the National School Lunch Program, I wanted to provide some clarification.  Food safety is one of our highest priorities, and USDA is committed to ensuring that food served through the National School Lunch Program is both healthy and safe. Schools that participate in the National [...]

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with MiPlato

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 09/25/2013 - 11:12am
Para la versión en español de este blog, por favor visite: National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated annually from September 15th to October 15th, pays tribute to the history, culture and traditions of Americans with Hispanic ancestry. To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month and increase awareness about MiPlato – the Spanish complement to MyPlate – [...]

Celebre el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana con MiPlato

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 09/25/2013 - 11:12am
For an English version of this blog, please click here: Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana, se celebra cada año del 15 setiembre al 15 de octubre, para rendir tributo a la historia, cultura y tradiciones de los Estado Unidenses de origen Hispano. El USDA a través del Centro de Políticas y Promoción de [...]

Now That’s Special: USDA Program Fuels Economic Development

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 09/24/2013 - 4:55pm
“Specialty crops”—the label may sound like exotic foods or something reserved for a special occasion, but this area of agriculture represents more than half the foods we eat on a daily basis.  Defined as fruits and veggies, tree nuts, herbs, dried fruit, decorative plants and flowers, these crops are not only a key component of [...]

Healthy School Meals in Their Own Words

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 09/13/2013 - 2:43pm
Schools across the country are telling us that they are successfully serving healthy, delicious breakfasts and lunches to students. But how do the students and staff feel about the changes? We interviewed students and staff at Bondurant-Farrar School District outside of Des Moines, Iowa to get their take on the new meals. Lexi Atzen, a senior at [...]