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

Using SNAP Benefits to Grow Your Own Food

A volunteer at the USDA People's Garden tends to Blossom and German Extra Hardy garlic.  The USDA through its People's Garden encourages everyone to grow their own food whether it's a couple of tomato plants or an acre of biointensively grown vegetables.  USDA photo by Lance Cheung

A volunteer at the USDA People's Garden tends to Blossom and German Extra Hardy garlic. The USDA through its People's Garden encourages everyone to grow their own food whether it's a couple of tomato plants or an acre of biointensively grown vegetables. USDA photo by Lance Cheung

Every month, more than 44 million people use SNAP to get nutritious food. Most of us probably imagine participants buying items like tomatoes, squash, and apples with their benefits. But did you know that SNAP can also help people grow their own food? With SNAP, participants can buy seeds and edible plants. It’s a great way to get fresh produce right at home! All SNAP retailers, including Farmers’ Markets, can sell seeds and plants to SNAP participants. Read more »

Outdoor Cows Are in Their Element

(Left to right) Pennsylvania State University agricultural engineer Michael Hile, ARS agricultural engineer Al Rotz and ARS research associate Felipe Montes use a dynamic flux chamber to measure the emission rates of gaseous compounds from manure on a dairy barn floor. ARS photo

(Left to right) Pennsylvania State University agricultural engineer Michael Hile, ARS agricultural engineer Al Rotz and ARS research associate Felipe Montes use a dynamic flux chamber to measure the emission rates of gaseous compounds from manure on a dairy barn floor. ARS photo

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

News by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) indicates that moving dairy cows out of climate-controlled barns and onto the land may help to lessen the ecological impact of dairy farming without any corresponding loss of production. Read more »

Colorado People’s Garden Produce to Feed the Homeless

Jim Isgar, Rural Development Colorado State Director Billy Merritt – FSA, Trudy Kareus, FSA State Executive Director ;Tammy Cook of FSA, and Deanna Stock – RD  People’s Garden Working Group

Jim Isgar, Rural Development Colorado State Director Billy Merritt – FSA, Trudy Kareus, FSA State Executive Director ;Tammy Cook of FSA, and Deanna Stock – RD People’s Garden Working Group

Staff from the Colorado State Offices of the Farm Service Agency, Food and Nutrition Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development have joined forces in support of the People’s Garden “Share Your Harvest” Campaign.  For a second year, the agencies have partnered with the Clever Kids Learning Center on the Denver Federal Center to host a garden.  Staff rotates watering and harvesting duties to ensure maximum participation.  Some of the crops planted include tomatoes, lettuce, peas, artichokes, and squash. Read more »

How You Can Feed Kids Afterschool and on Holidays

Over 21 million kids eat free or reduced-price breakfast or lunch at school. But what about dinner? And weekends and holidays when there is no school?  Well, the answer is the newly-expanded At-Risk Afterschool Meals in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).  At-Risk Afterschool Meals are now available in all States, and USDA needs your help to open more feeding sites.  More places that serve meals means that more kids are getting the meals and nutrition they need.

In Baltimore, over 6,000 kids eat supper in afterschool programs every day. The Family League of Baltimore City has more than 100 afterschool meals sites. The Family League also feeds children during the summer when school is out, and it has served afterschool snacks and suppers to kids for two years. Read more »

Check Your Steps: Cook to Keep Your Family Safer from Food Poisoning

While federal food safety agencies work hard every day to keep food safe before it gets to the consumer, the risk of foodborne illness has not been eliminated. One in six Americans will get food poisoning this year—that’s 48 million people. The USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline feels that it is important to give you information that can help prevent food poisoning when preparing meals at home.

Four simple behaviors—Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill—are the focus of the new Food Safe Families campaign and can help you keep your family safe when preparing, serving and storing food. Have you seen our ad with a pig in a sauna, reminding Americans of the need to cook meat to the right temperature? We want consumers to understand that food poisoning can happen, and that there are ways to help prevent it. Read more »

USDA Employee Founds 4-H in Iraq, Brings Hope to Iraqi Youth

Since the early twentieth century, 4-H (head-heart-hands-health) has been an avenue for American boys and girls to develop leadership skills, receive vocational training, participate in community service and much more.

Today, 4-H, which is USDA’s premier youth development program, has clubs in 81 different countries including Iraq, thanks to the hard work and perseverance of one USDA employee—Mary Kerstetter. Read more »