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Celebrating the Blueberry’s 100th Birthday

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 5:00pm
They often say big things come in small packages. That is the case for the highbush blueberry, a fruit that is only small in stature. July is National Blueberry Month and people all over the world are busy enjoying blueberry-inspired fruit salads, smoothies, and other refreshing foods. In addition to this month-long celebration, blueberry fans [...]

#USDARoadTrip: USDA Innovates to Meet Your Needs

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 5:00pm
USDA is in the solutions business. And now more than ever, we’re committed to working beside farmers, ranchers, rural businesses and partners to find innovative and collaborative solutions that meet the ever-evolving interests of the American people. This week, as part of our USDA summer road trip, we’ll take you through a few of our [...]

Reach Your Goal Weight Your Way with the NIH Body Weight Planner and USDA’s SuperTracker

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 5:00pm
Many people want to do a better job managing their weight but aren’t sure how. Whether you’re trying to maintain your weight, lose weight, or gain weight it can be challenging to figure out how to get started. USDA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) teamed up to bring you a simple new tool [...]

Kids’ “State Dinner”: Celebrating Healthy Cooking at the White House

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 5:00pm
Don’t let the name fool you; attending the Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House is an exciting experience for both kids and adults alike.  As a nutritionist with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, I had the privilege of being both a judge and an attendee for the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a [...]

“Hot & Cold” Music, Food and Fun on the Menu for July 17th USDA Farmers Market at Night

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 07/15/2015 - 5:00pm
If you’re in the Washington, DC-area on Friday, July 17, join us between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. outside USDA Headquarters at 12th and Independence Avenue, S.W., near the Smithsonian Metro stop.  Bring your dancing shoes, friends and appetite.  We’ll be holding the third in a series of 6 monthly USDA Farmers Market at Night. [...]

Second Morrill Act Redux: America’s 1890s Land Grant Universities Academic Excellence

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 07/15/2015 - 5:00pm
Booker T. Washington.  George Washington Carver.  Educators par excellence.  Pioneers in food and agricultural scientific research. Dedicated their lives to helping “lift the veil of ignorance” by bringing knowledge to African-Americans and others with limited resources. For 125 years, since passage of the Second Morrill Act on Aug. 30, 1890, which created a “broader education [...]

Reducing Sodium, Boosting Health for our Nation’s Schoolchildren

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 5:00pm
Reducing sodium in school meals is an important part of a broader effort to scale back sodium intake for all Americans.  To that end, our nation’s school nutrition professionals are actively working to lower the sodium content in our children’s meals during the school day.  Many schools have already achieved USDA’s sodium targets, thanks to [...]

New Resource Provides A Key to Unlock Tips on Healthy Aging

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 07/13/2015 - 5:00pm
Just in time for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health,  are co-publishing a new resource, “Choosing Healthy Meals as You Get Older: 10 Healthy Eating Tips for People Age 65+” to provide practical advice [...]

A Case Study in Wellness at PS 145 – Supporting Schools and Supporting Nutrition Standards

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 07/09/2015 - 5:00pm
The following guest blog, part of our Cafeteria Stories series, highlights the work of Wellness in the Schools, a non-profit organization working on school nutrition in New York City.  Organizations such as this can be a great resource for teachers and students in creating healthier school environments. By Chef Greg Silverman, Managing Director, Wellness in [...]

Tapping into the Economic Potential of Local Food Through Local Foods, Local Places

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 9:00pm
Cross-posted from the White House Rural Council blog: At USDA, we understand the enormous market potential of local food. Industry estimates suggest that local food sales in America have nearly doubled in recent years, jumping from $5 billion in 2008 to $11.7 billion in 2014. We’ve invested more than $800 million in 29,100 local and [...]

New Web Application Helps Families Find Summer Meals in Their Communities

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 1:00pm
USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, a federally-funded, state-administered program, last year served more than 187 million meals to children in low-income areas to ensure that they continued to receive proper nutrition throughout the summer when schools were closed. But that number represents just a small fraction of the children who are eligible to receive summer [...]

Urban Garden Tackles Hunger, Boosts Nutrition

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 1:00pm
One high tunnel can’t feed the world, but it can make a world of difference in providing fresh fruits and vegetables to those with limited access to healthy foods. These plastic covered structures use natural sunlight to create more favorable conditions for vegetables and specialty crops. And for the 31st Street Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., [...]

Team Up for School Nutrition Success

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 1:00pm
The following guest blog highlights the important work of our partner the American Heart Association. The association is a tireless advocate for supporting nutritious options in all environments, including the workplace, grocery stores, restaurants, and schools.  AHA recently participated in USDA’s Team Up for School Nutrition Success initiative, connecting them with school nutrition professionals and [...]

Behind the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative: Matt Russell

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 06/26/2015 - 1:00pm
“The term ‘farm to school’ involves thinking of the whole plate, so to speak. It’s about increasing the amount of local and regional foods served in school cafeterias while also increasing education and community outreach for kids, and creating market opportunities for producers.” So says Matt Russell, Grant Program Manager for the Farm to School [...]

FNS Requests Feedback to Strengthen Program Integrity, Improve Technology

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 06/26/2015 - 1:00pm
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is committed to supporting struggling families and helping the most vulnerable Americans put food on the table.  Today, over 60 percent of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants are children, elderly, or have disabilities.   The WIC program – officially known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and [...]

Feed Thy Neighbor: South LA Youth Use Neighborhood Gardens to Educate, Better Community Health

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 9:00pm
It began with the desire of a group of South Los Angeles high school students to increase access to more effective nutrition education at their school.  They started small—a monthly guest speaker, bags of veggies, cutting boards, and nutrition education. Now, their efforts have blossomed and manifested into RootDownLA, a community food project operating in [...]

Lessons Learned from Farm to Summer Successes

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 9:00pm
As the school year draws to a close, many program operators that help keep our nation’s children nourished and active are just ramping up. When school is out, many school districts and an array of nonprofit partners step up to offer healthy summer meals through USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option.  [...]

Serving More Summer Meals in Rural and Tribal Areas

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 06/22/2015 - 9:00pm
Cross-posted from the White House Rural Council blog: During the school year, over 21 million children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch each day through the USDA’s National School Lunch Program. But, when school is out, many children who rely on these meals go hungry. The challenge is particularly great in rural areas and [...]

Just In: Check Out MyPlate Video Search Results

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 9:00pm
It is an exciting time for kids to get creative with nutrition! Last week, the top kid chefs from the 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge were announced, and students across the country are Cooking up Change and getting connected to school food. The CheckOut MyPlate Video Search provided another opportunity for kids to showcase their creative [...]

Talking All Things Produce at the United Fresh Convention & Expo

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 9:00pm
The saying goes that change is the only thing that is constant. That certainly is the case in the produce industry where businesses are always looking to streamline processes and introduce new products to the market. Since my agency — the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) — provides services that facilitate marketing opportunities for the [...]