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Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Child Nutrition

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released the following statement in response to a new report done jointly by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) regarding positive outcomes of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), part of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which allows eligible high-poverty schools to offer school meals to all students at no charge, so they can focus on serving children the nutritious meals they need to learn, instead of doing paperwork.

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SNAP Employment, Training a USDA Priority

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced new steps to further strengthen the success of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) activities, in the latest action by the department to help more SNAP participants develop marketable skills and find jobs.

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Bridging Nutrition and Tradition: Abriendo Caminos

When preparing your meal, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? Do you have the right ingredients to create a meal that is both fulfilling and packed with enough nutrients to meet the daily requirements? But, what if the only foods that were available were unhealthy?

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SNAP Process, Technology Improvement Grants Application Announced

Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced today the availability of $5 million in competitive grants to improve efficiency and customer service of agencies that administer the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). These grants will fund initiatives that use technology to achieve procedural changes, such as electronic application filing, document imaging, telephone interviews, and web-based access to case status information. Changes of this nature result in faster processing of SNAP applications, and quicker approval of benefits, for eligible applicants who need them most. Applications for the grants are due April 18.

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Farm to School: An $800 Million Investment in Local Foods, Local Economies

We’ve talked quite a bit in the past about the major benefits we’re seeing in schools and districts that have established a farm to school program.  Their efforts are giving students a deep understanding and appreciation for where their food comes from and drastically shifting kids’ opinions of fruits and veggies.

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Roadmap Sets the Table for Nutrition Research

The Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research (ICHNR), on March 4, released the first-ever National Nutrition Research Roadmap. This document will help guide government, academia, and the private sector to more effective collaboration on federally funded human nutrition research. The report is the result of more than a year of collaboration among 10 different federal departments and agencies, more than 90 federal experts, and numerous public comments.

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Farm to School Programs Invest Nearly $800 Million in Local Economies

Schools across the United States purchased $789 million in local foods from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers in school year 2013 – 2014, according to results from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Census released today. That represents a 105 percent increase over the 2011-2012 school year when the first census was conducted, signifying the deepening commitment of schools nationwide to bring local food into the cafeteria and strengthen their local economies.

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Fresh Produce – The Original Smart Snack

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation (“The Alliance”) was founded as a response to the growing rate of childhood obesity. To combat this epidemic and to help make the healthy choice the easy choice, the Alliance created the Healthy Schools Program in 2006, launched in 231 schools in 13 states. The Healthy Schools Program has since grown to become the nation’s most extensive effort to prevent childhood obesity in schools.

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USDA Announces Grants to Support Strategies to Reduce Child Food Insecurity in Rural Communities

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the USDA Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center at the University of Kentucky awarded $1.3 million in grants to help reduce child food insecurity in 17 rural communities. The funding, ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, will help these rural communities implement creative strategies to improve access to federal nutrition assistance for families and children. Secretary Vilsack made the announcement during a panel discussion on the current state of food and nutrition in America hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

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USDA Celebrates 50 Years of School Breakfast, Offers $6.8 Million in Grants to Support Healthy School Meals

As schools around the county take part in School Breakfast Week celebrations this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) commemorates the 50th anniversary of its School Breakfast Program by shining a light on the positive impacts of school breakfast. Over the course of this administration, participation in school breakfast programs has increased by almost 27 percent; over 14 million students are now eating school breakfast each day. To help support the ongoing success of the School Breakfast Program and other child nutrition programs, Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon announced today that USDA will award up to $6.8 million in competitive Team Nutrition Training Grants to help schools and child care sites sustain the successful implementation of the healthier meals made possible by the bipartisan Healthy Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010.

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USDA Selects Ten States for Job-Driven SNAP Employment and Training Project

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 10 states have been selected to take part in SNAP to Skills, a first-of-its-kind, peer-to-peer effort to help state agencies design improved employment and training programs for adults participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in order to help them find employment and ultimately move off the SNAP program.

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USDA Improves the WIC Shopping Experience to Better Serve our Nation’s Low-Income, New and Expecting Mothers and Their Young Children

Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a major step to make it easier for participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children to access nutritious foods. The WIC Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Final Rule will improve the shopping experience for WIC participants by requiring states to transition from paper benefits to EBT systems by Oct. 1, 2020, as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Secretary Vilsack made this announcement during a speech at the 2016 National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, hosted by the Food Research & Action Center and Feeding America, in Washington, DC. The Secretary was joined at the conference by Dorothy McAuliffe, First Lady of Virginia and a champion of child nutrition programs. Virginia is one of 12 states and 4 tribal nations that have already competed the transition to EBT for distributing WIC benefits.

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USDA Proposes Policies to Improve Food Access, Healthy Choices for Low-income Americans

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon today announced a proposed rule designed to provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants increased access to healthy foods by requiring stores that accept SNAP to stock a wider array of food choices.

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USDA to Temporarily Allow WIC Funds to be Used for Lead Testing for Flint-Area WIC Recipients, Announces Other Measures to Expand Access to Healthy Foods

As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's ongoing efforts to support residents in Flint, Mich., Dr. Kathryn Wilson, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services today announced that USDA will temporarily allow Michigan to use WIC funds to conduct lead testing for WIC participants. An estimated 3,800 WIC participants could potentially be tested as a result of this action.

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Fact Sheet: USDA Assistance to Residents Affected by the Water Emergency in Flint, Michigan

USDA is committed to assisting residents affected by the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. While the water emergency in Flint remains primarily a public health crisis addressed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, USDA is committed to using all resources available to assist in the response and to provide relief to those affected by the water contamination. To date, USDA has provided the following assistance:

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USDA, NFL, Fuel Up to Play 60 Partner to Award $35 Million to Help Schools Serve Healthier Meals, Strengthen Childhood Nutrition

Amid pre-Super Bowl 50 celebrations today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, and Paul Rovey, dairy farmer and leader of the National Dairy Council (NDC), announced the availability of $35 million in grants to help schools upgrade their kitchen equipment and infrastructure in order to offer students better access to nutritious foods.

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USDA Kicks Off Expansion of the Team Up for School Nutrition Success Initiative

Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced a second phase of expansion of the Team Up for School Nutrition Success (Team Up) initiative, ensuring continued support for schools working to serve school children nutritious meals nationwide. Building on the momentum of the seven regional trainings held in 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service joined with the Institute of Child Nutrition at the University of Mississippi to offer all state agencies the opportunity to host local events to provide tailored technical assistance, support, and best practices for schools in administering successful meals programs. These events commence today in Utah as school nutrition professionals gather for two days of tailored training and peer-to-peer mentorship. 

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Firms Sought as Volunteers for SNAP Home Food Delivery Pilot

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking governmental or non-profit food purchasing and delivery firms to become SNAP authorized retailers for a one-year, nationwide pilot designed to improve grocery access for homebound elderly and disabled participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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Obama Administration to Partner with 27 Communities to Boost Neighborhood Revitalization through Local Food Enterprises

Today, on behalf of the White House Rural Council, six federal agencies joined together to announce the selection of 27 communities in 22 states that will participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative that helps communities increase economic opportunities for local farmers and related businesses, create vibrant places and promote childhood wellness by improving access to healthy local food.

The Communications Division coordinates public and media communications for the USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services mission area. For media inquiries, please contact FNSpress@usda.gov or 703-305-2281.