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Sweet News about Sugar Beets

\Sugar beet pulp is mixed with melted polylactic acid and passed through a twin-screw extruder. This results in pastalike strands (the brownish solid tubes coming out of the front of the machine) of composite material, which are then cooled, chopped into pellets, and injection molded. Photo courtesy of ARS.

Sugar beet pulp is mixed with melted polylactic acid and passed through a twin-screw extruder. This results in pastalike strands (the brownish solid tubes coming out of the front of the machine) of composite material, which are then cooled, chopped into pellets, and injection molded. Photo courtesy of ARS.

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 USDA’s rich science and research profile.

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but the scientists of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) still have some sweet news to share:  In a classic case of turning trash into treasure, they’ve created a biodegradable plastic made from sugar beet pulp. Read more »

Un Lugar en la Mesa para Promotoras

La Clínica del Pueblo comparte información sobre comidas balanceadas utilizando MyPlate/MiPlato.

La Clínica del Pueblo comparte información sobre comidas balanceadas utilizando MyPlate/MiPlato.

Imagínese que usted va al supermercado y lo reciben justo fuera de la tienda con una mesa llena de consejos sobre alimentos saludables para su familia, tomando en cuenta un presupuesto limitado – en su idioma. Esto es sólo una manera en que los trabajadores de salud comunitaria de la organización no lucrativa La Clínica de Pueblo en la capital del país están promoviendo la salud y la nutrición en la comunidad de habla hispana, parte de su iniciativa llamada “Tu salud en tus manos, La Mesa de las Delicias”.

A lo largo de todo el país, los trabajadores de salud comunitaria, conocidos en español como “promotoras” y “promotores”, están encontrando maneras innovadoras, basadas en la comunidad, y eficaces para ofrecer educación nutricional a las comunidades latinas que a menudo no tienen acceso a servicios de salud tradicionales. Read more »

A Place at the Table for Promotoras

La Clínica del Pueblo shares information on balanced meals utilizing MyPlate/MiPlato.

La Clínica del Pueblo shares information on balanced meals utilizing MyPlate/MiPlato.

Imagine going to the supermarket and being greeted right outside the store with a table full of healthy eating tips for your family, on a budget – in your language. That is just one way community health workers from the nonprofit La Clinica de Pueblo in the nation’s capital are promoting health and nutrition in the Spanish-speaking community, part of their initiative called “Your Health in Your Hands, The Table of Delights.”

All throughout the country, community health workers, known in Spanish as “promotoras” and “promotores”, are finding innovative, grassroots and effective ways to offer nutrition education to Latino communities that often do not have access to traditional healthcare services. Read more »

USDA Official Highlights Federal Programs That Help Create Jobs, Provide Access to Capital in Washington and Oregon

“Show me the money.”  You have heard that phrase, right? Made famous by the 1996 film  Jerry Maguire, we have all probably heard it said a thousand times, and yet, the phrase remains just as valid today.

Owners of rural businesses are asking the same question because finding capital is a major challenge for those who wish to grow and expand, and Lillian Salerno, USDA’s top business development official, met with various business leaders and owners in the Pacific Northwest to offer assistance on job creation and economic growth efforts. Read more »

Join the Conversation on Smart Snacks in Schools

School lunch staff and students enjoy the new school lunch menu created to meet the new standards at the Yorkshire Elementary School in Manassas, VA on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

School lunch staff and students enjoy the new school lunch menu created to meet the new standards at the Yorkshire Elementary School in Manassas, VA on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

USDA recently announced its “Smart Snacks in School” proposal that will help to ensure all foods and beverages sold in schools contribute to a healthy diet. The proposal offers a common sense approach to healthy eating by promoting the availability of snack foods with whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein foods as their main ingredients, while preserving time-honored school traditions like occasional bake sales and birthday treats.

Parents and teachers work hard to instill healthy habits, and our proposal reinforces that hard work by ensuring that kids are offered only tasty, nutritious food options at school. Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, this year students across the country began getting healthier school meals with more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy based on scientific recommendations for nutrition. Through the Act, Congress also directed USDA to set nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, including vending machines, school snack bars and a la carte, as a complement to the new, healthy standards for breakfast and lunch. Read more »

USDA Land-Grant Development/Tribal Fellowship Program accepting Applications

From June first through the eighth, USDA will host faculty and staff from the 32 land-grant tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) that work in the areas of agriculture, conservation, science, or community development to participate in the USDA Land-Grant Development/Tribal Fellowship Program, a key component of the Terra Preta do Indio Tribal Fellowship Suite.  The USDA 1994 Tribal Land-Grant Colleges and Universities Program office works with land-grant TCUs to develop their land-grant capacities and rural tribal economies to ensure the US’ food security. In order to achieve this mission, the Department offers accepted applicants a Tribal Fellowship, a one-week intensive workshop which includes the cost of travel, lodging, and per diem.

Over the course of the workshop, Fellows learn about programs and resources available throughout USDA and where and how to access them. They have an opportunity to exchange ideas with their colleagues, ask questions of specialists, and to consider which of the resources discussed might benefit their institutions. Fellows apply their knowledge by developing or revisiting their strategic plan to address the needs of their 1994 tribal land-grant college in the areas of agriculture, conservation, and the development of their rural communities – in collaboration with their institutions tribal community and with support from our staff and USDA service centers. Read more »