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Producing Positive Results During National Nutrition Month

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 03/21/2014 - 5:27pm
Healthy eating plus physical fitness equals a positive lifestyle. It is a concept that has been talked about for years. Fruits and vegetables are an integral part of the equation and a corner stone for National Nutrition Month. Through a number of services, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) ensures that fresh, high-quality produce can [...]

Secretary’s Column: Serving Up Healthy Food and a Healthier Next Generation

USDA FNS Blog - Fri, 03/21/2014 - 5:27pm
This article was originally posted on Read the original here. As Secretary of Agriculture, I take USDA’s nickname of the “People’s Department”—first coined by President Abraham Lincoln—to heart. Over the past five years, we have worked hard to build upon our tradition of service to the American people, supporting both the farmers and ranchers [...]

WIC Study Finds Program Supports a Healthier Next Generation

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 5:22pm
As National Nutrition Month hits its stride, USDA is excited to announce more evidence that the WIC program is building a healthier future for our nation’s youngest and most vulnerable.  A new USDA study finds that the program continues to serve a high percentage of those who qualify, providing them the nutritional access and resources [...]

The Growth of an Industry – 18,000+ Certified Organic Operations in the U.S. Alone

USDA FNS Blog - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 5:22pm
American organic farmers and producers are at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship.  Organic production contributes to building a stronger rural America by creating economic opportunities for farms and businesses of all sizes. In the U.S. alone, there are now 18,513 certified USDA organic operations, representing nearly a 245 percent increase since 2002.  And there [...]

Summer Food for Children Demonstration Projects: Finding New Ways to End Childhood Hunger

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 03/19/2014 - 5:17pm
When school lets out, millions of children look forward to camps, pools, and blockbuster movies.  However, many children will also experience hunger.  When school is in session, low-income students receive free or reduced-price school meals that help families stretch their food budget.  When the school year ends, those school meals are no longer available to [...]

Produce Safety University: Supporting a Healthier Next Generation through School Food Safety!

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 03/19/2014 - 5:17pm
Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children.  To reinforce that value, USDA is constantly working to ensure that kids are only being served safe, high quality meals.   That’s why we launched Produce Safety University (PSU) in 2010, to address the food safety issues related to fresh produce, particularly as it [...]

Farm to School Grants Offer New Opportunities to Serve Healthy Local Foods in School Meals

USDA FNS Blog - Wed, 03/19/2014 - 11:15am
It’s not every day that I get the opportunity to hang out with a group of cool elementary school students.  Which is why I was so excited for the chance to spend a few hours at J.C. Nalle Elementary School in Southeast Washington, D.C. You see, it was “Fresh Feature Friday” and D.C. Central Kitchen [...]

USDA, Partners Work to Expand SNAP Access at Farmers Markets

USDA FNS Blog - Tue, 03/18/2014 - 5:11pm
As spring marches closer, farmers markets across the country are ramping up or reopening for the season. In addition to year-round staples like local milk, meat, and grains, the stars of the season—asparagus, onions, new potatoes, lamb, and greens of all varieties—are beginning to make their debuts. In a few months’ time, the markets will [...]

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 [...]