USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recently released its 2009-10 School Food Purchase Study, which provides national estimates of the quantity, value and unit price of food acquisitions by school districts participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. This year, the Survey for the first time asked specifically if school districts were purchasing local food and included questions about the total value of purchases and the major items purchased.
School district responses provide an important baseline for tracking the national progress of local food purchases by school food service programs. The responses showed that about 2 out of every 10 school districts surveyed purchased local produce for school meals during the 2009-10 school year, based on responses from a nationally representative sample of 416 school district food service directors about practices for purchasing food for school meal programs. An additional 12 percent indicated that they are in the process of developing a program for buying locally grown produce. Read more »
Fruit and Veggie Ambassadors sampling fresh fruit and vegetables at a Pawtucket Summer Food Service Program.
Do you know what a Malanga is? What about a Chocolate Pepper? The “Fruit and Vegetable Ambassador ” (F&V Ambassador) students of Slater Jr. High School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island learned about these unusual vegetables and more during their Summer Food Service Program fruit and vegetable taste testing. For the less adventurous vegetable eater, a Malanga is a root vegetable that has a nutlike flavor and when cut open looks similar to a sweet potato. A Chocolate Pepper is a purple Bell Pepper.
The students at this summer food program are nicknamed the “F&V Ambassadors” of their school. Along with this prestigious title, students get cool t-shirts and, most importantly, the responsibility of encouraging fellow students throughout the school year to make healthier decisions at lunchtime. Read more »
A vendor places tomatoes into a plastic bag for a customer at a Maryland farmers market. Many beginning producers use farmers markets as the gateway to direct marketing opportunities. Photo by Elvert Barnes
This week we’ve celebrated farmers markets as a vibrant segment of U.S. agriculture that offers a unique and personal way to connect producers and consumers. We highlighted decades of farmers market participation, updated the status of farmers markets across the U.S., offered an example of innovation in the lessons learned by a market in Kentucky, and explained how structure and function interact through farmers market architecture. Now, with National Farmers Market Week coming to a close tomorrow, we thought we should share some perspective on how farmers markets fit into the larger local and regional food landscape. Read more »
Since its humble beginnings over 75 years ago, the Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) in Virginia has provided reliable and affordable electricity to its 18-County service area located South of Richmond, the State Capital.
Yesterday marked a milestone for the electric coop with the announcement by Jonathan Adelstein, the Rural Utilities Administrator, of over $44.8 million dollars in guaranteed loan assistance. This will be the largest single loan and expansion project ever taken on by the cooperative.
“The guaranteed funding through the RUS Program will enable us to complete key projects that will improve reliability, customer service, and give us additional capacity to meet future load requirements which assist our local communities with economic development,” said Jeff Edwards, SEC President and CEO. He went on to say, “An exciting part of this expansion will be the implementation of Smart Grid Technology. This will allow for customers to actually monitor their power usage and help conserve electricity during peak times of the day.” Read more »
As drought continues to affect most of the country, our thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of farm families who have been affected by this disaster.
Earlier this summer the U.S. Department of Agriculture acted quickly to open conservation programs for emergency haying and grazing, lowered the interest rate for emergency loans, and worked with crop insurance companies to provide more flexibility to farmers.
On August 7, President Obama once again convened his White House Rural Council and announced several new measures the Administration is taking to help those impacted by the drought. Read more »
The renovated Fox Creek flood control dam in Kentucky.
We’re seeing how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act) creates jobs right here in Kentucky. The Fox Creek flood control dam in Kentucky, is a great example.
The Recovery Act was created by the Obama Administration to boost the nation’s economy, in part by developing and improving infrastructure like flood controls. (Floodplains and other wetlands are natural flood controls; dams are man-made flood controls.) Read more »