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Secretary’s Column: Local Markets, Local Growth

USDA FNS Blog - Vie, 06/13/2014 - 5:29pm
Many consumers want to “buy local” and support their local economy with their purchases. When local food marketing opportunities exist for rural producers, they cause ripple effects throughout the rural economy. The 2012 Census of Agriculture results indicate that nearly 150,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide are selling their products directly to consumers, and 50,000 are [...]

June is Dairy Month – a Time to Say Thanks to America’s Milk Producers

USDA FNS Blog - Jue, 06/12/2014 - 11:26am
The next time you eat a cheese sandwich, drink a glass of cold milk, have an ice cream cone or a cup of yogurt on a walk through the park, thank the dairy farmers who made it all possible.  Now is a great time to do that because June is Dairy Month. The dairy industry [...]

The Win-Win Situation of Selling Food to USDA

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 06/11/2014 - 5:23pm
USDA’s purchase programs were created to support our nation’s farmers through the purchase of domestic products and to increase Americans’ access to nutritious food.  Many businesses who sell to USDA find that the programs also create other opportunities for growth. Companies like Wawona Frozen Foods have used the Commodity Purchase Program, administered by USDA’s Agricultural [...]

Let’s Move Outside All Summer Long

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 06/11/2014 - 11:22am
Summer is fast approaching but packing up the kids to head outside could be daunting, especially for those whose experience with outdoor activities is limited. But don’t worry. With a little help and some simple planning, the whole crew will want to unplug and find activities that will invigorate not just the body, but the [...]

Creating a Healthier Next Generation and Supporting a Healthier School Day

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 06/11/2014 - 11:22am
Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, students across America are being served meals with more fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy.  Parents can send their kids to school knowing that the healthy habits they teach at home are being reinforced at school, with breakfast and lunch menus that provide more [...]

The Healthy Eating Index: How does America Score?

USDA FNS Blog - Mar, 06/10/2014 - 5:21pm
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. Have you ever heard of the Healthy Eating Index? The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) measures the quality of Americans’ food choices. At USDA [...]

Calling on Communities to Help Feed Children in Need

USDA FNS Blog - Lun, 06/09/2014 - 5:17pm
Cross-posted from the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships blog: With summer’s arrival, officials at the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are preparing for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). This program ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Free meals [...]

At the Intersection of Agriculture and the U.S. Military

USDA FNS Blog - Vie, 06/06/2014 - 5:05pm
Red, white, and blue balloons soared high above the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers and vendors at the opening of the 19th season of the USDA Farmers Market.  With echoes of the Star Spangled Banner played by the “President’s Own” Marine Band, we celebrated the service of our men and women [...]

Local Food Investments Expand Market Opportunities Coast to Coast

USDA FNS Blog - Vie, 06/06/2014 - 11:03am
  Last month, Secretary Vilsack announced a historic level of funding available for local and regional food: $78 million, including $48 million through USDA’s Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and $30 million through the newly-expanded Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. The 2014 Farm Bill gave USDA these and other tools and resources, [...]

USDA Farmers Market Opens with a Recipe to Honor Our Veterans

USDA FNS Blog - Jue, 06/05/2014 - 10:57am
I love farmers markets. The vibrant colors, enticing smells, and vivacious people make me feel so very alive and happy. Local markets also work to bring communities together.  I have been to a number of farmers markets across the U.S., but my favorite one is located right here in Washington, DC—in fact, it’s right here [...]

Join A White House Rural Council Forum on Regional Food Economies; June 9, 12:45 ET

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 06/04/2014 - 4:54pm
How is investing in regional food economies an investment in rural America? How can rural America benefit from the growing demand for local food?  How are local food systems supporting the economy in your town? On Monday, June 9 at 12:45 et, the White House Rural Council will host Regional Food Economies: Building Market Opportunities [...]

Looking Back While Preparing to Move Forward with Summer Meals

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 06/04/2014 - 10:52am
This week is National Summer Food Service Program Kickoff Week, an important time to emphasize USDA’s commitment to ensure children and teens have access to safe, nutritious meals when school lets out. Through the Summer Food Service Program, federal assistance is provided for state agencies and non-profit sponsors to help children in eligible high-need areas [...]

Changing the Way 650,000 Students Eat in Los Angeles

USDA FNS Blog - Mar, 06/03/2014 - 4:47pm
Cross posted from the Let’s Move blog: The city of Los Angeles is known all around the world for Hollywood, Beverly Hills, celebrities as well as glitz and glamour.  There are more than 125,000 millionaires and more than 20 billionaires in this city I now call home. But the reality is there is still a [...]

MyPlate Has a Game Plan for Healthy Eating on a Budget

USDA FNS Blog - Vie, 05/30/2014 - 4:17pm
Everyone wants to save money at the grocery store, especially those on a tight budget. The new Healthy Eating on a Budget section of empowers cost-conscious consumers to make healthy choices with insightful information about meal planning, smart shopping ideas, and creating healthy meals with simple ingredients.  Web-based trends indicate that consumers continue to [...]

Picking a Winner Part II – More Tips and Insights for Selecting Seasonal Produce

USDA FNS Blog - Vie, 05/30/2014 - 10:12am
We all have our own methods and traditions for selecting fresh produce, especially as the weather gets warmer and our stores and markets are full of fresh seasonal offerings. Whether it’s smelling the rind or checking the firmness of the skin, these age-old practices are all designed to help pick the winning ingredients for snacks [...]

Don’t Play Politics with our Children’s Health

USDA FNS Blog - Jue, 05/29/2014 - 10:09am
Cross posted from The Hill Op-Ed: Politics should never trump sound policy, particularly when it comes to our kids. Four years ago, Congress, in a strong bipartisan effort, committed to America’s children that they would enjoy healthier and more nutritious meals at school. Sadly, just as we are beginning to see the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids [...]

100+ Years of Tracking Nutrients Available in the U.S. Food Supply

USDA FNS Blog - Mar, 05/27/2014 - 10:03pm
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. What’s in the food we eat? Have you ever wondered if the foods past generations ate as children were more nutritious than the [...]

USDA Relies on Feedback to Help Schools, Children Adapt to New Meal Standards

USDA FNS Blog - Jue, 05/22/2014 - 12:03pm
As many schools wind down for the year, USDA is gearing up for exciting new improvements designed to make the 2014-2015 school year even healthier for our nation’s future leaders.  It’s a commitment rooted in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  In that legislation, USDA is directed to update the school meals to reflect [...]

Insects for Dinner? Potential Tool in the Toolkit to Achieve Global Food Security

USDA FNS Blog - Vie, 05/16/2014 - 5:41pm
As an entomologist, the notion of eating insects isn’t new to me. However, for most Americans, the thought can make their stomachs churn. And yet, maybe seeing insects on their dinner plates is something Americans should get used to seeing. Yesterday, I delivered the keynote address at the Insects as Food Conference, which was hosted by the [...]

Organic 101: Understanding the “Made with Organic***” Label

USDA FNS Blog - Vie, 05/16/2014 - 11:39am
This is the sixteenth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations. Deciphering food labels and marketing claims can be a challenge for the average consumer.  Companies use production and handling claims as a way to differentiate their products in the marketplace. Organic is one label that most [...]