Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Selecting Trees to Grow in Cities: Database Captures Urban Tree Sizes, Growth Rates Across US

An overgrown urban tree

Knowing the maximum size of a tree can help a planner or manager avoid future conflicts between roots and sidewalks or branches and power lines. A technical manual published by the U.S. Forest Service can help cities decide which trees are best to plant in specific areas. (Photo Credit: U.S. Forest Service)

In the cramped environs of U.S. cities every inch counts, especially if attempting to make space for nature. But now city planners and urban foresters have a resource to more precisely select tree species whose growth will be a landscaping dream instead of a maintenance nightmare.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station recently published a technical manual and launched the most extensive database available cataloging urban trees with their projected growth tailored to specific geographic regions. Read more »

U.S. Sweet Potato Production Swells

Sweet potatoes

Since 2000, per capita consumption has risen as consumers increasingly enjoy sweet potatoes beyond the holiday table.

Chances are that if you order a side of fries at a restaurant, you need to specify whether you’re asking for white potatoes or sweet potatoes. Food trends that support the consumption of more healthful, colorful and unique foods have helped to encourage sales of sweet potatoes in the form of fries, chips, ready-to-cook and heat-and-eat preparations, expanding consumption of the orange tuber well beyond the holiday table.

Domestic consumption of sweet potatoes has grown considerably since 2000 with annual per capita availability (a proxy for consumption) rising from 4.2 pounds to reach a record-high 7.5 pounds in 2015. The marked rise in domestic demand has been encouraged by promotion of the health benefits of sweet potatoes – rich in vitamins A and C, high in fiber. Expanded demand has also been supported by the increasing variety of sweet potato products available in restaurants and for home preparation. Read more »

Guia Del USDA Ayuda A Operadores De Tiendas Y Bodegas Ofrecer Productos Mas Saludables

Una señora haciendo compras usando sus beneficios de SNAP

Una señora haciendo compras usando sus beneficios de SNAP (cupones de alimentos).

Todos sabemos las recomendaciones de comidas saludables y  los consejos que ofrecen los expertos en cuanto a la buena salud. Pero el comer saludablemente no es tan fácil como simplemente seguir todo lo que oímos de los médicos y nutricionistas. A veces, el acceso a comidas saludables es limitado debido al vecindario donde uno se encuentra. Otras veces, no alcanza el dinero para las opciones de comidas más frescas o nutritivas. Y aun en otras ocasiones, el impedimento a alimentos saludables puede que sólo sea cuestión de saber dónde buscar en su tienda o bodega local.

Es ahí donde el Servicio de Alimentos y Nutrición (FNS, por sus siglas en inglés) del Departamento de Agricultura de EE.UU. está enfocándose — mejorando los alimentos disponibles para aquellos que servimos, sin sacrificar la satisfacción al paladar. FNS es la agencia federal encargada de administrar el Programa de Asistencia de Nutrición Suplementaria (SNAP, por sus siglas en inglés; anteriormente conocido como el programa de cupones de alimentos o food stamps). Y no hay razón por la cual los recipientes de SNAP tengan  que sufrir un abastecimiento inferior de comidas saludables. Read more »

USDA Publishes Guide to Help Corner Stores Sell Healthier Foods

A lady making purchases using her SNAP benefits

A lady making purchases using her SNAP benefits (food stamps).

We all hear the recommendations on healthier eating and the advice we get from experts on health. But eating healthy is not as easy as simply following everything we hear from doctors and nutritionists. Sometimes, access to healthier food choices is limited by one’s neighborhood. Other times, the food choices for fresher and more nutritious items are simply not financially attainable. And in yet other cases, the barriers to healthier food choices can be something as simple as knowing where to look in your local store.

That’s where the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA comes in — trying to improve the availability of healthier items for those we serve, without sacrificing taste. FNS is the federal agency in charge of running the SNAP program. And there’s no reason why SNAP recipients have to bear an inferior supply of healthy foods. Read more »

Connecting Health, Faith and Agriculture: How One Community is Using Agriculture to Support Community Health

A student from Conetoe Family Life Center presenting

A student from Conetoe Family Life Center discusses her favorite aspect of the program. 17 students from CFLC's program gave a presentation to USDA leadership and staff about their programs.

In the rural community of Conetoe, North Carolina, residents are taking aim at the lack of access to healthy and nutritious food and its youth are leading the charge. In the predominately African American town, more than 60 youth participants of Conetoe Family Life Center (CFLC) have a direct role in the health and welfare of their community.

Conetoe Family Life Center was established in 2007 by Reverend Richard Joyner, a 2010 CNN Hero, to address persistent poverty and lack of access to healthy foods for the predominantly African American rural town of Conetoe, North Carolina.  As a result of CFLC’s efforts, the community has seen a dramatic decrease in negative health determinants. Read more »

Kick off a Healthy New Year with SuperTracker!

The SuperTracker My Messages web page

Sign up to have SuperTracker notifications sent to your email address!

Do your New Year’s resolutions include a healthier eating style and more physical activity? Whether you find inspiration from a personal challenge, or by competing with others in a group, we have the tools to keep you motivated and help you reach your goals with updated features in SuperTracker, the food and physical tracking tool from the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP). Read more »