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USDA Offers Funding to Support School Nutrition

Vie, 04/27/2012 - 4:25pm
6 cent rule is a linchpin to schools adopting new meal standards that will improve kids’ meal choices in the cafeteria. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has issued an important piece of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 – the 6 cent interim final rule – to give schools and communities the tools to [...]

Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth School Pilot Program: Training Teachers Coast to Coast

Vie, 04/27/2012 - 10:22am
A classroom floor becomes a garden as 2nd graders at Hiawatha Elementary in Webster, Iowa decide which of their favorite fruits and vegetables will be planted in their school garden. Gathered in anticipation around a rectangle that represents the actual size of the garden bed, their teacher skillfully guides the planning, helping them consider which [...]

Organic 101: The Lifecycle of Organic Food Production

Vie, 04/27/2012 - 10:22am
This is the fifth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations. Through defined farming practices, organic principles promote ecological balance, foster the cycling of resources, and conserve biodiversity. To understand what that means when it comes to the label on your food, those principles require some more [...]

Introducing the Regional Food Hub Guide: An Innovative Tool for Growing Local Food Systems

Mié, 04/25/2012 - 7:30pm
What can farmers and ranchers do if they’re interested in selling locally but don’t have the resources to run their own trucks, processing plants or marketing strategies?  What can institutional buyers, –like schools, hospital and retailers — do to offer more local food to their customers? A regional food hub is one possible answer. Regional [...]

USDA Announces New Farm to School Program to Improve the Health and Nutrition of Kids Receiving School Meals

Mar, 04/24/2012 - 10:10am
Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog: Last week USDA released a new farm to school grant program designed to help give children a sense of where their food comes from and increase the availability of local foods in schools. Joined by students at Southern High School in Harwood, MD, as well as school and [...]

Food and Nutrition Service Heeds the Blueprint for Cost Savings

Mar, 04/24/2012 - 1:02am
In the three months since Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA’s “Blueprint for Stronger Service,” the Food and Nutrition Service has continued to develop cost-saving and efficient strategies that will save taxpayers money and streamline operations. The “Blueprint for Stronger Service” was designed to modernize and accelerate service delivery while improving the customer experience through [...]

How to Get Summer Food PSAs on Your Local Radio Station

Lun, 04/23/2012 - 1:25pm
Most kids cannot wait for school to let out in June.  However, for some parents and other caretakers, when school is out for summer, they begin to worry about how they will feed their children a nutritious breakfast or lunch.  USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) fills this summer meal gap for many low-income families [...]

Todos en la Mesa: Making Room for Everyone at the Table

Vie, 04/20/2012 - 7:06am
During a recent visit to Southern California, I met with key partners in USDA’s efforts to address hunger and make nutritious food affordable and available, particularly in low-income communities. More than one out of four Latino families in the United States is food insecure, and many do not know that CalFresh, the name for the [...]

Fresh from the Garden

Mié, 04/18/2012 - 4:00pm
I get to learn about a lot of great local initiatives when I make visits around the country.  On a recent trip to Dallas, I visited Metrocrest Social Services, a community resource agency in Farmers Branch, Texas, that provides services to families in crisis and helps them make plans for the future. The purpose of [...]

Community Baby Cafés: A Great Benefit for Moms, Children and Families

Mié, 04/11/2012 - 4:10pm
As Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service, I know that our 15 nutrition assistance programs help a wide variety of people around the country. But there’s nothing like getting out of the office to personally witness the boots on the ground efforts by those who administer and promote our programs on a daily basis. [...]

Eggstra! Eggstra! Learn All About Them

Mié, 04/11/2012 - 10:06am
Whether you prepare them for Easter dinner or as part of a Passover Seder Plate, eggs will certainly be the rave this weekend.  Coupled with egg dyeing, decorating, or hunting, it’s likely that you will find yourself searching for eggs in the super market. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) wants to pass along some [...]

Apply to Make a Difference: Farmers Market Promotion Program Grants Available

Vie, 04/06/2012 - 10:28am
Every day, thousands of local farmers and ranchers work hard to ensure that their communities have access to a diverse range of fresh, healthy affordable foods.  While nutritious food is a cornerstone of society’s physical health, a vibrant community also includes sustainable economic opportunities.  By funding projects that support these goals, USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion [...]

USDA Participates in the UN Commission on the Status of Women

Mié, 04/04/2012 - 3:32pm
Rebecca Blue, Acting Deputy Undersecretary for MRP; Janie Hip, Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Tribal Affairs; and Kisha Davis, White House Fellow were excited to represent USDA on the US delegation to the UN for the 56th Commission on the Status of Women. The theme this year was the empowerment of rural women and [...]

Quality Monitoring Program Expands to Olive Oil

Mar, 04/03/2012 - 3:20pm
There have been a lot of questions over the last few years about the quality and purity of olive oil.  USDA has expanded our Quality Monitoring Program to include extra virgin and organic extra virgin olive oil.  This program already evaluates a variety of commodities including canned, frozen and certain fresh fruits and vegetables. With [...]

Support for Mothers During Women’s History Month and Beyond

Mar, 04/03/2012 - 9:05am
March is Women’s History month, a time when we highlight everything woman.  In the midst of farming and biofuels, research and forestry would you believe that the USDA also finds time to promote breastfeeding?  The answer is absolutely!  You already know that the agency supports a myriad of nutrition programs to help make America’s children [...]

Increasing Access to Locally Grown and Healthy Food

Jue, 03/22/2012 - 9:26am
Cross posted from the White House blog: Three years ago, I was asked to participate in the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, out of which grew the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. In May 2010, we submitted a report to the President that made a series of recommendations for addressing the challenges of [...]

Breakfast in the Classroom Has Dallas Kids Going For the Gold!

Mar, 03/20/2012 - 3:58pm
When I was a kid, my mom used to tell us to eat our breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day. Well here we are decades later and there are studies that prove kids who aren’t hungry perform much better scholastically. In fact, a recent study from the Food Research and Action [...]

The Best Food Distribution Models for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers

Dom, 03/18/2012 - 6:54am
Small and mid-size farmers are the backbone of farmers markets, but they often face particular obstacles when trying to sell products in markets like grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, and schools.  Through the Transportation and Marketing program at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), we explored this issue in our recent study, Moving Food Along the Value [...]

Salsa, Sabor y Salud: MiPlato Celebrates the Strengths of Latino Traditions

Mar, 03/13/2012 - 11:07am
How are you celebrating National Nutrition Month? An easy way to incorporate great nutrition every day is to make MyPlate your plate. You can do that at your own dining table, and you can also help others do so, as well. People across the country have been doing that for a long time by using [...]

Farming in the OC. Really.

Mar, 03/13/2012 - 11:07am
On Friday, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan met with producers in America’s most significant and diverse agricultural state – California. Many people wouldn’t think of farming in Orange County, but there is significant specialty crop production just a few miles away from Disneyland. Farming in southern California’s urban environment is particularly challenging and Merrigan’s first [...]

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