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Working Together to Prevent Summer Hunger

Making sure children have nutritious meals and keep their bodies moving all year long is one of USDA’s most important missions. Our Summer Food Service Program plays an important role in ensuring that all children get healthy meals during the summertime.    We’re proud to say that in 2012, our partners helped to serve 144 million summer meals at 38,800 sites across the country. That translates to 2.3 million children served on a typical summer day.

But there is still a lot of work to be done. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of kids who rely on free and reduced price meals during the school year participate in the summer program. So this year we’ve set out to serve 5 million more summer meals. We need your help to meet that goal. Read more »

Using 21st Century Technology to Solve Age-Old Problems

For years, we believed that food was the most powerful commodity to combating food insecurity in the developing world. But with a more intricate challenge than ever before, particularly in the developing world, data and information about food insecurity and agricultural research are proving to be almost as valuable in this fight.

Later this month, here in Washington, the G-8 and World Bank will host agricultural leaders from around the world at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture. The two-day event will bring the G-8 together with private and public research entities, as well as with businesses and NGOs who share the same goal: shoring up global food security.

The G-8 committed to this conference and to strengthening the virtual community by sharing data relevant to agriculture because it believes that creating this data “ecosystem” can leverage public research investment from many countries, drive innovation and fuel economic growth. Read more »

Forest Service Chief Tidwell Tours New York City’s Urban Forests

Volunteers work during a MillionTreesNYC fall planting day in New York City. (New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Photo/ Malcolm Pinckney,)

Volunteers work during a MillionTreesNYC fall planting day in New York City. (New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Photo/ Malcolm Pinckney,)

When most people think of urban forestry in New York, they usually evoke Central Park, Frederick Olmstead’s crown jewel that covers 843 acres in the middle of bustling Manhattan. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: The President’s 2014 Budget Proposal

This week, President Obama released his budget proposal for the Federal government, including USDA, for Fiscal Year 2014.

Today, the Federal budget is more important than ever. The American people expect and deserve a government that operates efficiently and effectively. We must carry out our mission while safeguarding taxpayer dollars.

Our USDA employees have worked hard in recent years to manage with fewer resources. The Department’s discretionary budget that funds our operations is lower today than it was in 2009 – but we are still getting the job done. Read more »

Meet Mark Underberg, Meat and Poultry Import Inspector

Import Inspector Mark Underberg.

Import Inspector Mark Underberg.

Integrity. It is a word to live by. And Mark Underberg, an import inspector with the Import Inspection Division in the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) Office of International Affairs, takes it seriously. “Your decisions have to be fair and consistent,” he says. “And once you have a solid decision, you stand by it.” It is this same integrity that has driven Underberg throughout his life.  Read more »

Interested in Feeding Kids this Summer When School is Out? Join Our Twitter Chat Using #SummerMeals!

Join @USDANutrition for a Twitter chat on Summer Meals tomorrow at 3pmET. Use #summermeals to participate.

Join @USDANutrition for a Twitter chat on Summer Meals tomorrow at 3pmET. Use #summermeals to participate.

Want to help feed kids when school gets out? The USDA is hosting a “Help Serve #SummerMeals This Year” Twitter Town Hall this Friday, April 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm EST to inform and inspire organizations across the country to become a summer meal site when school lets out this year.  The Twitter Town Hall will feature USDA Undersecretary Kevin Concannon as well as partner organizations including the Food Research and Action Center, D.C. Hunger Solutions, New York City Coalition Against Hunger, and Food Bank of the Rockies.  Summer meal sites can be almost anywhere including parks, recreation centers, schools, libraries, places of worship, hospitals, and even mobile food trucks. If you have questions like: Read more »