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Secretary’s Column: Farm to School Programs Create New Opportunities for Farmers

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
This October, just like every other month during the school year, school menus will feature an array of products from local and regional farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. Kids of all ages will dig up lessons in school gardens, visit farms, harvest pumpkins, and don hair nets for tours of processing facilities. Science teachers – and [...]

Continued Support for Local Food

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
Strong local food systems are one of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Vilsack’s four key pillars to revitalize rural economies.  On Monday, he announced the award of over $52 million to support local and regional food systems and the organic industry through five USDA grant programs. Most of the grants were authorized through the [...]

Embracing a New Vision of School Nutrition

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
The following guest blog is part of our Cafeteria Stories series, highlighting the efforts of hard working school nutrition professionals who are dedicated to making the healthy choice the easy choice at schools across the country.  We thank them for sharing their stories! By Alan Shannon, Public Affairs Director, Midwest Region, USDA Food and Nutrition Service, [...]

The Easy Way to Find Local Food – USDA Launches New Local Food Directories

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
What a great time of year to visit your local farmers market! From root crops such as beets, carrots and radishes to salad greens like Swiss chard, lettuce and spinach—farmers markets are full of fresh ingredients that you can use in your favorite fall recipes. My agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service, maintains the USDA’s National [...]

Nation’s Museums and Libraries Feed Minds and Bodies this Summer

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
Libraries remain a part of the fiber of American communities, with over 123,000 operating across the nation.  And in states like Idaho, libraries provided children with more than just books!  For the second straight year, the Idaho Commission for Libraries teamed up with AmeriCorps VISTAs and local summer meal sites to offer “Literacy in the [...]

Summer Meals Success, Thanks to Our Essential Partners

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 10/08/2014 - 1:00pm
Collaborative efforts are the heart and soul of USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, and these successful partnerships were thriving across the nation this summer.   Many organizations, non-profits, schools, churches, and others have teamed with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to expand this vital program.  And now that summer has come to an end, the success [...]

Summer Food Service Program Meals with a Healthy Southern Twist

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 08/13/2014 - 5:00pm
Fried chicken, sausage biscuits and fried okra are a thing of the past in the Mobile County (AL) Public School Service’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), explained Child Nutrition Director of MCPSS, Susanne Yates. “The program is providing nutritional meals that are still southern in style but meet the new nutritional standards under the Healthy, [...]

Celebrating Farmers and Communities during National Farmers Market Week

USDA FNS Blog - Mar, 08/12/2014 - 5:00pm
We just wrapped up the 15th annual National Farmers Market Week here at USDA. It has been an AMAZING week filled with celebrations at farmers markets across the country.  Last Friday, at our own USDA Farmers Market, we hosted hundreds of youths to introduce them to healthy back-to-school snacks; and we even had a special [...]

How FNS Partners Take Their Summer Feeding Sites to the Next Level

USDA FNS Blog - Lun, 08/11/2014 - 5:00pm
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service partners serve a vital role in the success of the federal Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).  These important relationships are critical to helping operate and expand summer meals and sites so that no child or teen goes hungry when school is out. Evaluating their best practices and listening to their [...]

North Carolina Campus Kicks off the School Year with a Focus on Healthy Eating

USDA FNS Blog - Lun, 08/11/2014 - 5:00pm
As a registered dietitian, I’m a big proponent of nutrition education for kids and adults alike. MyPlate On Campus, USDA’s initiative that promotes healthy eating on college campuses through peer-to-peer education, is a unique effort to reach young adults during a key life stage. The program now boasts over 2,300 MyPlate On Campus Ambassadors who [...]

USDA Partners with Community, Farmers Market in Eastern Kentucky: To Feed Kids and Help Farmers

USDA FNS Blog - Vie, 08/08/2014 - 9:00am
This week marks the 15th annual National Farmers Market Week and USDA is celebrating the achievements of the more than 8,700 markets across the county. In rural eastern Kentucky, over the summer, a remarkable thing happened in the small community of Whitesburg. Local, state and federal officials all worked together to create the first-ever USDA [...]

School Nutrition Standards Underpin Healthy Eating Habits

USDA FNS Blog - Jue, 08/07/2014 - 5:00pm
In this week’s guest post, Dr. Stephen Cook describes the childhood overweight and obesity epidemic based on first-hand experience with patients in his clinical practice.  He also discusses the important role that school nutrition plays in both short- and long-term health outcomes among our nation’s children. Dr. Stephen Cook, M.D., Ph.D., American Heart Association Volunteer [...]

USDA Leadership Helps Host the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 08/06/2014 - 5:00pm
CNPP’s new Executive Director, Angela Tagtow, MS, RD, LD, closed out her first week with USDA by honoring the winners of the 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge recipe contest at the White House during the Kids’ State Dinner on August 20. Below are her impressions from the event. What was the best part of the 2014 [...]

Small State Comes Up Big with Healthy Summer Meals and Engaging Activities for Kids

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 08/06/2014 - 5:00pm
Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to see the many happy faces of children playing on the recreational fields of the Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club in Seaford, Del.  They were there as part of a Summer Food Service Program showcasing USDA’s Eat Smart. Play Hard Campaign. It was easy to get caught [...]

#AgCensus and MyPlate Serve up Lessons in Math, Nutrition, and More

USDA FNS Blog - Mar, 08/05/2014 - 5:00pm
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. Where was the food on your plate grown? Do you know in which state the apple in your lunchbox was mostly likely harvested? [...]

Local & Regional Data Added to USDA Market News

USDA FNS Blog - Mar, 08/05/2014 - 5:00pm
America’s hunger for locally and regionally grown food has become a $7 billion-per-year market.  That means more consumers are savoring farm-fresh food, and more farmers—especially small and mid-size farmers—are profiting from new markets for their products.  It also means that a trove of useful pricing and volume data about local and regional food markets is [...]

Thousands of Reasons to Celebrate National Farmers Market Week

USDA FNS Blog - Lun, 08/04/2014 - 5:00pm
The 15th Annual National Farmers Market Week is off to a great start! Farmers markets connect and unite people living in urban and rural environments, provide access to fresh, healthy and delicious foods, and—best of all—put a face to the farmers and ranchers who produce their wonderful wares. We, in turn, can support farmers and [...]

What Are You Doing For National Farmers Market Week?

USDA FNS Blog - Mar, 07/29/2014 - 1:00pm
Every time I explore a farmers market I become a kid again. It brings back memories of snacking on sun-ripened figs from my backyard with dad or squeezing for perfectly ripe tomatoes at the neighborhood farm stand with mom. The existence, uniqueness and vibrancy of farmers markets can be a positive experience full of exploration [...]

In Colorado, Partnerships Bloom in Support of Regional Food Systems

USDA FNS Blog - Mié, 07/23/2014 - 1:00pm
This summer, USDA is highlighting partnerships to invest in the future of rural America. Our partners work with us year after year to leverage resources and grow economic opportunities. They are the key to ensuring our rural communities thrive. Follow more of our stories on Twitter at @USDA or using the hashtag #RuralPartners. Strong local [...]

Food Banks Compete in Membership Drive for the U.S. Food Waste Challenge

USDA FNS Blog - Mar, 07/22/2014 - 9:00pm
Today, the USDA is joining with Feeding America to launch a friendly competition among the nation’s food banks to sign up the most participants in the U.S. Food Waste Challenge.  The food bank that registers the most donors as participants in the U.S. Food Waste Challenge will be honored in an event hosted by the [...]