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Hunger Knows No Season

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 09/10/2013 - 2:20pm
There is no “off-season” for the nearly 15% of people in this country facing hunger. Although demand remains high all year round, many of the nation’s food banks experience a major decline in donations during the summer months. USDA programs, however, work year-round to help those affected by hunger. Through The Emergency Food Assistance Program [...]

Our Nation’s Schools are Trending toward a Healthier School Day

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 09/09/2013 - 8:17pm
Schools, teachers and school nutrition professionals across the nation are working hard to make the school day healthier. According to a new study by the CDC, schools across the nation are embracing healthier policies, such as increased physical education, reducing kids’ exposure to tobacco, and of course, improving the nutrition environment at schools.   Children who [...]

Partnering with Cooperative Extension to Support Farm to School

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 09/05/2013 - 1:47pm
Kids are headed back to school and so are county Extension agents. As schools continue to teach kids where their food comes from and bring local and regional products into the school cafeteria, one group they may want to partner with on their farm to school activities is their local or regional Cooperative Extension office. [...]

Calling All Ag Supporters: Tell us What’s at Stake Without #MyFarmBill

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 09/04/2013 - 7:44pm
At USDA, we remain committed to sharing with all Americans the need for a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to keep up momentum in American agriculture, grow the rural economy and create jobs.  And today, we launched Instagram, @USDAgov, to highlight photos and videos from around the country that bring into your home the [...]

Reach Your Goals: Start with a Healthy Breakfast

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 08/29/2013 - 7:12pm
At a very early age, I learned about the value of healthy eating. By the time I was 11 years old and training daily as a gymnast, I knew that eating right would help me achieve my goals. The goals I had for health, athletics, and academic performance were all tied to eating nutritious foods, [...]

Celebrate Labor Day with a MyPlate Picnic

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 08/29/2013 - 1:10pm
A picnic is an easy and relaxing holiday activity. USDA’s MyPlate resources can help take the “labor” out of your Labor Day picnic. You can enjoy an easy, healthy meal by following this simple MyPlate formula: 5 food groups + family and friends = fun! When planning your picnic, be sure to include more healthful [...]

The Track & Field Fuel-Up Challenge! Summer Fun that Helps Kids Learn

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 08/28/2013 - 7:06pm
It’s summer time! And kids’ thoughts naturally turn to ways to have fun and enjoy themselves! Moms, on the other hand, want kids to continue to learn and develop their skills while they enjoy the lazy days of summer.  The Track & Field Fuel-Up Challenge is an online game that meets the needs of moms [...]

Schools Around the Country Successfully Implementing New Meal Standards

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 08/28/2013 - 1:01am
Today a news report claimed that schools across the country are dropping out of the National School Lunch Program because the standards are too difficult to implement. The truth is that the vast majority of schools across the country are meeting the updated meal standards successfully, which is so important to help all our Nations [...]

Secretary’s Column: Continuing the Fight Against Childhood Obesity

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 08/23/2013 - 12:34pm
Ensuring the health and well-being of our nation’s children is a top priority for President Obama, and for all of us at USDA. We have focused in recent years on expanding access, affordability and availability of healthy foods for families and children. Recently, we learned of some promising new results in the fight against obesity. [...]

Colorado Partners Unite to Fight Summer Hunger

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 08/19/2013 - 11:56am
Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado, is known for its diversity of businesses and residents.  It is home to establishments ranging from upscale restaurants to motels housing low-income and homeless families. However, the upscale scene doesn’t tell the whole story. Within a two-mile stretch of Colfax, there are an estimated 15,000 children who qualify for free [...]

Quinoa: a Plant with a Lot of Potential

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 08/16/2013 - 2:34pm
In February of this year, the United National declared 2013 the International Year of the Quinoa. Yet, I’m sure not many people have even heard of quinoa, let alone know about its nutritional qualities. Originating from Bolivia, Chile and Peru around 5,000 years ago, quinoa is a grain that is growing in popularity across the [...]

Back to Healthy School Meals: USDA Congratulates Six States for Nearly 100% of Schools Meeting New Meal Standards

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 08/16/2013 - 2:34pm
As we continue to combat childhood obesity in America, I am proud to say that this Back to School season our school cafeterias are at the heart of offering great nutrition for our kids. Students and schools are embracing the healthier lunches offered through the National School Lunch Program that, together with the healthier breakfasts [...]

What Does It Cost to Raise a Child?

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 08/14/2013 - 8:15pm
How much will that little bundle of joy cost? According to USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child report, the answer for a child born in 2012 is $241,080 for food, shelter and other necessities over the next 17 years, which translates to about $301,970 when adjusted for inflation! Speaking as a father and a grandfather, [...]

Ready, Set, Learn: USDA Lessons for Our Nation’s Next Generation

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 08/14/2013 - 2:13pm
It’s that time of year! Back to school season is upon us and agencies across the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working to ensure a stronger and healthier future for our nation’s next generation of leaders. That means providing a happy and healthy learning environment for our kids, and helping them grow up with [...]

Next Year at School: New Standards Point to Healthier Snacks and Other Competitive Foods

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 08/13/2013 - 8:07pm
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. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, “competitive foods” in schools will be subject to new nutritional standards. Competitive foods include à la carte cafeteria [...]

MyPlate Goes To College

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 08/12/2013 - 7:55pm
The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion launched a new initiative this past March, MyPlate On Campus, to help spread healthy eating messages to young adults during their college years.  MyPlate On Campus is a unique program that encourages students to improve their own eating and physical activity habits as well as promote healthy [...]

“USDA Tender” – A Cooperative Effort with the U.S. Beef Industry

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 08/12/2013 - 1:51pm
Tenderness is one of the most significant factors affecting the overall consumer acceptance of beef cuts.  Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Beef Quality Grading program is a useful tool in predicting overall consumer acceptance of beef, other factors besides those assessed by the USDA Quality Grading System affect beef tenderness.  In other words, [...]

Back to School with MyPlate Kids’ Place

USDA FNS Blog - Mon, 08/12/2013 - 1:51pm
Back-to-school is an exciting time of year that provides new opportunities for teaching and learning.  The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion offers great nutrition resources for young children, parents, and educators for this upcoming school year.  ChooseMyPlate.gov now features MyPlate Kids’ Place, a new section of the website designed for children between the [...]

Cultural Sustainability through Farmers Markets

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 08/09/2013 - 4:32pm
In agriculture, we talk a lot about sustainability.  As a method of growing crops, caring for ecosystems like forests or wetlands, or even the economic sustainability of businesses—we look at this word from all angles.  But there’s another component to consider: cultural sustainability. As a nation of immigrants, we have many rich and complex influences [...]

Farmers in Alabama Reach More Customers with Electronic Benefit Transfer

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 08/09/2013 - 4:32pm
What Agriculture Under Secretary Concannon calls a win-win situation, is taking root in rural Alabama with help from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and state officials.  Local farmers’ markets are getting authorized to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards which will allow them to expand their customer base and offer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) [...]

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