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National Nutrition Month: Raising a Healthier Generation through Diet, Education

The School Breakfast Program provides children of all economic backgrounds a well-balanced, healthy meal consistent with the latest nutrition science and Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The School Breakfast Program provides children of all economic backgrounds a well-balanced, healthy meal consistent with the latest nutrition science and Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

We all want our children to succeed.  It’s an important value and one the entire country can rally around.  This March we’re redoubling our efforts to that commitment by celebrating National Nutrition Month and the importance of raising a healthier generation of kids.

It’s our collective responsibility to ensure the next generation has access to healthier meals.  USDA and the Obama administration support a nutritious diet by making the healthy choice the easy choice in our schools.  And for good reason… Read more »

Small Start-Up Brings Big Change for Philly Communities

The Common Market team, led by founders Haile Johnston (far left in red shirt) and Tatiana Garcia-Granados (far right in orange sweater), brings food into Philly communities by connecting Mid-Atlantic farmers with wholesale customers. Photo courtesy Common Market.

The Common Market team, led by founders Haile Johnston (far left in red shirt) and Tatiana Garcia-Granados (far right in orange sweater), brings food into Philly communities by connecting Mid-Atlantic farmers with wholesale customers. Photo courtesy Common Market.

It all started with one truck—one truck and the idea that bringing fresh, healthy foods into Philly communities was just a question of coordination.  For Haile Johnston and his wife, Tatiana Garcia-Granados, founding Common Market was the logical solution to solve the food access issues they saw in the communities around them.

“The core of Common Market is selling to schools and hospitals,” said Johnston. “Historically, they have been the hardest institutions to reach. They serve the most vulnerable population. That’s why we focus on partnering with schools and hospitals.”

Their food hub business model connects local farmers in the rural Mid-Atlantic region with wholesale customers in urban areas.  In their first year, Common Market worked with only a dozen farmers and had 22 customers, but they kept growing—adding trucks and building relationships with local family farms and institutional buyers in urban communities. Read more »

President Obama Renews Charge to Help Rural Companies and Communities Compete Globally

Cross-posted from the Department of Commerce blog:

Yesterday, President Obama announced new commitments in the “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative, which is charged with bringing together federal trade-related resources for rural communities and businesses. This announcement reflects the Administration’s strategy for ensuring workers and businesses of all sizes, from communities large and small, benefit from the nation’s economic resurgence.

The Department of Commerce also released data yesterday that show 26 states set new export records in 2014, and many of those states are in the nation’s heartland. Read more »

How Trees Help Fight Climate Change – All Over the World

A Limber Pine on the near barren landscape of the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve stands as a strong symbol of the power of one tree. (Photo by Robert Westover, U.S. Forest Service)

A Limber Pine on the near barren landscape of the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve stands as a strong symbol of the power of one tree. (Photo by Robert Westover, U.S. Forest Service)

The first in a series of blogs honoring the United Nation’s 2015 International Day of Forests

Did you know that carbon dioxide, or CO2, is one of the main contributors to the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change?

And, did you know that one averaged-size tree – say a 30-footer – can store hundreds of pounds of CO2 over its lifetime and even longer if it’s used in building materials for a house or furniture? Read more »

Soils Support Urban Life

Community gardens like this one in Louisville, KY, bring neighbors together to produce fresh fruits and vegetables in areas that usually have no access to fresh produce. NRCS photo.

Community gardens like this one in Louisville, KY, bring neighbors together to produce fresh fruits and vegetables in areas that usually have no access to fresh produce. NRCS photo.

The United Nations General Assembly has designated 2015 as the International Year of Soils. This is one of a continuing series of blogs to mark this observance.

Soil is defined as a dynamic natural body that is made up of solids, liquid and gases and occurs on the earth’s surface, contains living matter, and supports or is capable of supporting plants.  But soil is bigger than this.

Civilizations have either flourished or perished partly based on this natural resource and the capability of its people to manage and use it wisely. We all depend on the soil, regardless of where we live – rural or urban. Read more »

Teach Healthier Meals in a SNAP!

Zucchini Coleslaw is a delicious alternative to sweet coleslaws. Adding salsa instead of sugar to the coleslaw sauce gives each serving more nutrients and more flavor. Photo credit: Jennifer M. Anderson.

Zucchini Coleslaw is a delicious alternative to sweet coleslaws. Adding salsa instead of sugar to the coleslaw sauce gives each serving more nutrients and more flavor. Photo credit: Jennifer M. Anderson.

This is the fourth installment of the What’s Cooking? Blog Series. In honor of the Let’s Move 5th Anniversary, and the commitment USDA shares with Let’s Move to promote healthy eating and access to healthy foods, this month-long series will highlight the various features of the What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl recipe website.

Attention nutrition educators helping Americans make healthy and budget-friendly choices—this edition of the What’s Cooking? Blog Series is for you!  If you haven’t already heard, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipes have a new home on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl web site. This site combines recipes designed for SNAP-Ed, child nutrition programs, the food distribution program, and ChooseMyPlate.gov.  Visit What’s Cooking?  USDA Mixing Bowl, and you will see that there are hundreds of healthy recipes for educators to browse and use in nutrition education programming. For example, how do Zucchini Coleslaw, Mozzarella Chicken with Garlic Spinach, A Simple Mexican Salad, or Ginger Orange Muffins sound?

Many of the recipes found in What’s Cooking?  USDA Mixing Bowl were created for educating recipients of SNAP benefits. The goal of the education component of SNAP, commonly called SNAP-Ed, is to improve the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy choices, within a limited budget, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate.  The SNAP recipes were developed by SNAP-Ed educators to do just that! Read more »