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Did You Just Toss that Carrot Stick Away?

Did you throw away any food today? If so, you are not alone.

Many of us struggle to store or use up the last of the leftovers or think of something edible to do with those shriveled vegetables at the bottom of the chiller drawer.  In fact, in 2010, 133 billion pounds of food in U.S. retail food stores, restaurants, and homes never made it into people’s stomachs. An estimated 30 to 40 percent of the food supply in the U.S. is wasted, in that it never reaches the intended consumers.  Unfortunately, the decision to purchase and then discard food has some serious ramifications for the environment and for food security.

Together, we can do something about this.  On June 4th – the day before World Environment Day – USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will launch the U.S. Food Waste Challenge and call on organizations spanning the food supply chain to join the fight against food waste.  Together we can help reduce the amount of food that is sent to our landfills and increase the amounts that are recovered to help families in need. Read more »

Food Safety Tips for Those Impacted by Storms

Following a disaster, those affected should be aware of these safety tips:

Anyone with questions about the safety of their food as a result of weather damage and power outages is encouraged to call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline (888-MPHotline), available in English and Spanish from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CDT.

Ask Karen, FSIS’ virtual food safety representative who has the answers to nearly 1,500 food safety questions, is available 24/7 from your smartphone at m.AskKaren.gov, also in English and Spanish. Ask Karen can be downloaded for free for iOS and Android devices. Read more »

USDA Offers Assistance to Tornado Victims

Following the devastating effects of tornadoes this week, USDA is offering assistance to those in need.  USDA offers many programs that can provide assistance to landowners, farmers, ranchers and producers during disasters.  No Presidential or Secretarial declarations are required for the provision of much of this assistance.

Agricultural producers are reminded that Federal crop insurance covers tornado damage, as well as other natural causes of loss.  Please remember to report your loss to your insurance agent or company within 72 hours and in writing within 15 days. Your insurance company will send out a loss adjuster as soon as they are safely able to do so and will document your insurance claim. Please remember that you cannot destroy your crop or plant a new crop until the loss adjuster or your insurance company has informed you that you can do so. Read more »

ERS Ag Research Counts

To recognize the contribution that research in agriculture makes in our daily lives, we’re focusing this month’s Science Tuesday blogs on the successes that USDA science agencies have achieved for us all.

Many of us use technology daily to communicate faster than ever before. And Economic Research Service (ERS) is part of that group, too.  Using state-of-the-art technology, our economists and analysts work hard to deliver timely, policy-relevant research on topics such as childhood obesity, global food security, and climate change  — issues that affect us all.  So, today we’re emphasizing the importance of economic information because “Ag Research Counts” every day, for every American. We’re continuing our trivia contest on Facebook with questions from past ‘Science Tuesday’ blogs.  You can weigh in on Twitter using the hashtag #AgResearchCounts. Here are this week’s blogs featuring ERS research that impacts each of us every day: Read more »

Camping with Kids? There’s a Method to this Madness

Mason “Amtchat” Edwards and his son walk along the trail spotting interesting notes of nature. (Photo by: Brian McNeal)

Mason “Amtchat” Edwards and his son walk along the trail spotting interesting notes of nature. (Photo by: Brian McNeal)

As an environmental educator, I’ve taken tons of kids outside for fun and educational experiences in the woods. Now, I am looking forward taking my own son out for his first discoveries and to create memories we’ll share for years to come. I figured I would share my personal camping tips with you. Plus, May 18 is National Kids to Parks Day; a perfect opportunity to help children explore nature.

Get the kids involved during the planning stages. Gauge what they are most excited about seeing or doing. Is it waterfalls or caves, searching deep in the forest for bugs or looking for larger animals like eagles or moose? The possibilities are endless. The things they are excited about can be used to reinforce behaviors like following instructions or being open to trying new things. Read more »