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Last Published: 12/03/2012
  • January 27 2014
    On January 15th, Growing Power’s Will Allen joined Chicago Public School, Aramark, FarmLogix and USDA staff to celebrate 36,000 pounds of carrots grown locally and served to Chicago students. In the past few years I’ve seen an increasing number of news stories about successful farm to school programs. As reflected in the first USDA Farm to School Census, farm to school programs are thriving from Alaska to Florida and in every state between. I attended a recent event that demonstrates just how quickly—and by what lengths—farm to school is growing. On January 15th, students in all Chicago...
  • January 24 2014
    At USDA, we are working hard to ensure that America’s next generation has access to the healthy foods they need to grow, learn, achieve, and eventually to compete and succeed on a global stage. We are focused on feeding a healthier future, but we are also learning that the country as a whole is making the shift towards a more health-conscious society. USDA recently released a study that shows that the diets of American adults are improving. More people are reading nutrition labels and using that information to make healthier food choices at the grocery stores. We are eating out less and...
  • January 22 2014
    “Cooking Up Change” involved more than one hundred students and over 700 guests. This November I served as a judge in the 2013-14 kick off Cooking Up Change competition here in Chicago. What is “Cooking Up Change”?  It’s a culinary competition sponsored by the Healthy Schools Campaign that challenges Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students and others across the U.S to create and prepare meals that are healthy and tasty and also follow National School Lunch Program requirements. This competition empowers students to have a voice about school meals and nutrition. On top of that, it’s a lot of...
  • January 22 2014
    Bread for the City CEO George Jones (far left) shows the organization’s rooftop garden to AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo (right with black coat and grey shirt), AMS Associate Administrator Rex Barnes (far right), Food Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Kevin Concannon (middle), and FNS Associate Administrator for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Jessica Shahin (middle left). Sometimes one action can have a ripple effect—an impact that spreads outward, touching much more than just the immediate surroundings.  We see it all the time in the process of agriculture....
  • January 17 2014
    Kindergarteners, family members, and teachers from Grafton Street School in Worcester, MA touring the REC’s Organic Farm with Mass. Farm to School Project’s Kindergarten Initiative program. Massachusetts Farm to School Project and the Worcester Public Schools are helping kindergarteners understand how and where food is grown. They are teaching children about nutrition through local food tastings, farm and farmer visits, cooking demonstrations and take home produce. The Worcester Kindergarten Initiative is running at nine elementary schools in Worcester, MA, for the 2013-2014 school year! We...
  • January 16 2014
    Customers scoop up a handful of the healthy, fresh produce available at one of the many farmers’ markets found in communities across America. America’s farmers’ markets are a great source of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods, and at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), we’ve made it a priority to expand healthy food access through farmers’ markets to those participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It’s a win-win situation because, for farmers markets, the ability to accept SNAP benefits is a great way to build their customer base, which...
  • January 14 2014
    USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton thanks Food Service Staff at Valley Intermediate School for their dedication to the children’s health. Local school wellness policies are an important tool for parents, local educational agencies, and school districts to promote student wellness, prevent and reduce childhood obesity, and provide assurance that school meal guidelines meet federal standards. They help communicate nutrition guidelines for all foods available on the school campus and include goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and...
  • January 10 2014
    America’s farmers and ranchers work hard every day to put healthy food on our tables. Thanks to their incredible productivity, we have the capacity to produce enough food not only for every American family, but for much of the world. In a nation with such an abundance of food resources, it is unthinkable and unacceptable that any American go hungry. Unfortunately, even as the economy recovers and more Americans get back to work, millions of hardworking folks still need help putting food on the table. America’s food insecure families are just one group of Americans counting on Congress to...
  • January 6 2014
    Dave’s Herb-Stuffed Mushrooms The MyPlate Team offers the final “Makeover Monday” recipe this week on the USDA blog and the MyPlate Facebook page. I love mushrooms and could probably eat them every day. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, textures, and flavors and can be worked into every meal. On their own, mushrooms are pretty healthful – very low in calories, free of cholesterol and (almost) free of fat. They are also naturally low in sodium, high in potassium, and are generally high in vitamins and minerals. Stuffing mushrooms just makes something wonderful ever better!  But...
  • December 30 2013
    Liz’s Sparkling New Year’s Cider With two little ones in the house, I’m always looking for ways that I can introduce them to new flavors and textures of foods and beverages. This Sparkling New Year’s Cider recipe does just that! The 100 % apple juice is familiar and adds a touch of sweetness, while the cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon introduce them to new spices. The bubbles from the sparkling water also provide a fun new feeling for their mouths. Of course, adults can enjoy this beverage too! My recipe includes spices to add a special holiday flavor.  If you aren’t familiar with star anise or...

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