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Category: Food and Nutrition

Taking a Bite out of the Local Apple in the Windy City

The Chicago Public Schools System has incorporated locally-grown produce into school menus, providing students with fresh, healthy food. (Administrator Anne Alonzo, 4th from right) USDA Photo Courtesy of Peter Wood.

The Chicago Public Schools System has incorporated locally-grown produce into school menus, providing students with fresh, healthy food. (Administrator Anne Alonzo, 4th from right) USDA Photo Courtesy of Peter Wood.

March is National Nutrition Month, and local food plays an important role in providing Americans with fresh, healthy fuel for their bodies. From farmers to financiers to schools and hospitals, there is a lot of passion for sharing good food by supporting strong local and regional food systems. I experienced this firsthand during my trip to Chicago, Ill., where I spoke at last week’s Good Food Festival & Conference.

The trip came on the heels of a recent announcement that USDA is making $97 million available to expand access to healthy food and support rural economies.  Grants from my agency — the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – make up over $90 million of that funding.  AMS was a sponsor and exhibitor at the trade show, where we shared information with stakeholders about the many resources we have to support local and regional food systems. Through our Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (comprised of the Farmers Market Promotion Program and the Local Food Promotion Program), AMS supports producers, local food entrepreneurs, and rural and urban communities across the country. Read more »

Keep School Lunches Healthy

Every parent has dreams for their child. We want them to grow up strong and healthy. We tell them to dream big and work hard so that they can be anything they want to be. We want them to take the world by storm.

As parents, we lay the foundation for our children’s future success, but we know that we can’t do it alone. We rely on people like pediatricians, other health care providers, teachers and other school professionals to act as our proxies. We entrust them with the task of helping our kids grow up smart, strong and healthy because, as parents, we believe that they will make decisions in our children’s best interests. And that applies to what our children eat when they are away from home, especially at school. Read more »

Celebrate National Nutrition Month in your Community!

Virginia Beach, VA, a Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties site, displays MyPlate to promote healthy eating and active living as part of the Mayor’s Action Challenge efforts.

Virginia Beach, VA, a Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties site, displays MyPlate to promote healthy eating and active living as part of the Mayor’s Action Challenge efforts.

In honor of National Nutrition Month®, MyPlate is sharing resources to help you bite into a healthy lifestyle everywhere you go! This blog highlights resources for encouraging a healthy lifestyle within your community. Learn about healthy eating at home and at work here.

There are many ways to engage a community in healthy eating! Create a community garden, start a cooking club, offer nutrition classes . . . the list goes on and on. During National Nutrition Month® and throughout the year, find a variety of ways to lead your community into a healthier future with MyPlate. Read more »

Promoting Skills and Training for Low-Income Workers

Cross-posted from the White House Council of Economic Advisers blog:

Last year, the President directed Vice President Biden to lead a review of federal job training programs in order to identify and implement steps to make these programs more “job-driven” and responsive to the needs of employers. The idea was that — even as the economy continues to recover, with more open jobs than at any point since 2001 — we need to do more to make sure that we are giving workers the skills they need to compete for those jobs. This is core to the President’s vision for “middle-class economics,” in which Americans who are unemployed or in low-wage jobs have the opportunity to train and find jobs that create pathways to the middle-class.

Friday, as part of this effort, Secretaries Vilsack and Perez announced $200 million for projects designed to identify the most effective strategies to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) improve their skills and find jobs. Read more »

Celebrate National Nutrition Month at Work!

USDA nutritionists host worksite wellness events for their colleagues during National Nutrition Month and throughout the year.

USDA nutritionists host worksite wellness events for their colleagues during National Nutrition Month and throughout the year.

In honor of National Nutrition Month®, MyPlate is sharing resources to help you bite into a healthy lifestyle everywhere you go! This blog highlights resources related to healthy eating at work. Learn about healthy eating at home here.

Practice healthy habits at work!  Throughout the work day, find ways to eat healthy and be active. Whether you pack your lunch or grab takeout, make half your plate fruits and vegetables and choose whole-grain when available. Keep healthy snacks on hand, such as low-fat yogurt, a trail mix of dried fruit and unsalted nuts, or hummus dip and veggies, to help you resist the office candy bowl when hunger strikes. It’s also important to make time to be active, especially if you spend most of the workday seated at a desk. Take activity breaks or schedule walking meetings with your colleagues. Healthy choices like these will keep you energized and able to put your best foot forward. Read more »

Child and Adult Care Food Program Reaches Far and Wide

USDA programs like CACFP help improve access to food and healthful diets for millions of Americans.

USDA programs like CACFP help improve access to food and healthful diets for millions of Americans.

During National Nutrition Month, we’re excited to highlight the many ways federal nutrition assistance programs benefit vulnerable Americans.

At USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, we often get the chance to discuss how WIC and our school lunch and breakfast programs boost the nutritional lives of millions.  But did you know that each day our Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides over 3.3 million children and 120,000 adults nutritious meals and snacks that contribute to their wellness, healthy growth and development? Read more »