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Good Morning America Visits Chicago to Highlight a Healthy School

 Good Morning America staff visited Chicago's Academy for Global Citizenship, a Gold of Distinction Healthier US School, as part of a segment that featured Secretary Vilsack who announced proposed rules for new meal patterns as recommended by IOM. The piece aired on Thursday, January 14th.

Good Morning America staff visited Chicago's Academy for Global Citizenship, a Gold of Distinction Healthier US School, as part of a segment that featured Secretary Vilsack who announced proposed rules for new meal patterns as recommended by IOM. The piece aired on Thursday, January 14th.

Yesterday, an ABC Good Morning America (GMA) crew visited the Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago. Why was GMA at a small neighborhood school on the Second City’s southwest side on a frosty day in January? To help underscore the importance of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s recent announcement of proposed changes to school meal standards. Read more »

Meeting the Nutritional Needs of the Nation’s Schoolchildren

Cross-posted from the Let’s Move! Blog:

Ensuring our nation’s schoolchildren have the necessary nutrition to learn, grow, and thrive is commitment that we take very seriously at U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). On the heels of the historic passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, USDA has now released a proposed rule to enhance the quality of school meals by requiring more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk in our national school meals programs.  In addition to these healthy offerings, schools will have new standards to limit the levels of saturated fat, sodium, calories, and trans fats in those same meals.

As children now eat as many as two meals a day at school, it’s clear that the school food environment plays a more vital role in their health and welfare.  The science-based recommendations are, in fact, consistent with an Institute of Medicine report on improving the health of children. Read more »

Through the Recovery Act, an Oregon Business, Small Bank Find Opportunity and Protect Jobs

A few years ago, RAM Trucking was mainly a hauler of building materials—but everyone knows what happened to the housing market. Yet, RAM Trucking is still on the road and more resilient than ever.

To safely steer his company when the economy began to slide, President Dale Latimer applied a basic principle of driving in hazardous conditions:  When the weather gets rough, keep your tires inflated to the right pressure and make sure you’ve got enough tread.  In this case, getting enough tread meant restructuring the company’s financing and accessing working capital to position for opportunities beyond the construction arena. Read more »

Alaska’s Tribal Organizations Share Views with USDA

On January 10 and 11, 2011, USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) visited Anchorage to conduct a consultation with Alaska Tribes on a wide range of subjects.

At the Consultation, OTR staff, and local and national agency officials met with representatives of Alaska’s Tribes for a discussion of programs and rules of four USDA agencies: Rural Development; Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Service; Farm Service Agency; and Natural Resource Conservation Service.  Through this process, USDA was provided with valuable local insight, comments and recommendations concerning delivery of the Department’s programs to Alaska’s Native people.  Much discussion related to the Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) provision of the 2008 Farm Bill. Read more »

A Movement That Began In 2009 Spread In 2010

It’s a movement that began in 2009 with a jackhammer and the desire to transform the land surrounding USDA Headquarters into a healthier, more sustainable landscape. Immediately support for such an effort poured in and the first People’s Garden was built here in Washington, DC. A few months’ later employees outside the Capital Beltway received a challenge from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack encouraging them to be involved in these efforts and create similar gardens at their USDA facility or within the community where they work. A movement that started with one garden was about to spread its roots and it did just that in 2010. Read more »

Smokejumpers as “Beetle Busters”

USDA Forest Service Smokejumpers are trained to climb trees in case they, or their supplies, land in them.  When Smokejumpers aren’t fighting wildfires, the USDA Forest Service calls on them to use their tree climbing skills to complete a variety of natural resource management projects, such as harvesting pine cones and constructing owl nesting boxes.

USDA Forest Service Smokejumpers are trained to climb trees in case they, or their supplies, land in them. When Smokejumpers aren’t fighting wildfires, the USDA Forest Service calls on them to use their tree climbing skills to complete a variety of natural resource management projects, such as harvesting pine cones and constructing owl nesting boxes.

While many USDA Forest Service employees spend their summers working as Smokejumpers fighting wildfires in the west, they in turn spend their falls in the east working as Beetle Busters, helping the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) combat the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). Read more »