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The Food Safety Discovery Zone Reaches 2,000 Visitors at USDA’s 2011 Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival visitors of all lined up outside the Food Safety Discovery Zone to tour the exhibit, ask food safety questions about their purchases, and win prizes.

Harvest Festival visitors of all lined up outside the Food Safety Discovery Zone to tour the exhibit, ask food safety questions about their purchases, and win prizes.

It was a chilly but beautiful Friday when the Food Safety Discovery Zone joined vendors at the USDA Harvest Festival to celebrate the end of a successful growing season for the People’s Garden. Even among the jazz band, petting zoo, and the smell of kettle corn in the air, the giant yellow Food Safety Discovery Zone was impossible to miss. Designed to make food safety education fun for kids, the 40-foot long mobile exhibit attracted masses of visitors of all ages who wanted to know how to safely prepare the food they were buying at the festival or for the upcoming holidays. Read more »

A Day to Honor Our Heroes

Cross posted from the White House blog.

This Friday, as on Veterans Days past, we stand with the men and women who have served this nation in uniform and commemorate their achievements. As preparations are made for a week of USDA events and celebrations, I am reminded of the everyday courage and strength these men and women display, and without whom our great country would not be what it is today. While we can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to the service members who have been wounded and died while protecting our country, we should take time to recognize the more than 20 million living American veterans and offer special thanks to them for all they’ve done for us throughout the years. Read more »

How Are You Adding Fruits and Vegetables? Your Plate Could Win $1,500!

How are you putting more fruits and vegetables to your plate? USDA is challenging you to show how you’re adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet without straining your budget. Speaking of your budget, the challenge is offering cash prizes for creative videos! All you have to do is create a short video (approximately 30 seconds) showing how you build a healthy plate with fruits and veggies on a budget. What does YOUR MyPlate look like? Share your most inspiring tips, tricks, and how-tos. Get creative with your video! It can be a song, a skit, or a how-to in action, as long as it includes the message “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.” Read more »

Turkey FUNdamentals: Top Questions for Cooking a Turkey

Safety first this Thanksgiving.

Safety first this Thanksgiving.

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline has been answering consumer questions related to Holiday meals for over 25 years. Of course, we get the usual questions about buying, thawing and roasting a turkey. But we also get some of the same not-so-typical questions each year. You may have had these questions yourself. Read more »

Helping Homeless Veterans One Hero At A Time

The over 670 veterans who attended the event received new shoes and other aid.

The over 670 veterans who attended the event received new shoes and other aid.

As a federal employee for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, it is part of my job to know the many faces of hunger. People in need can come from all backgrounds, ages, locations, and walks of life. They are children. They are senior citizens. They are even those who are newly unemployed during our nation’s economic downturn. I knew all of this. But what caught me off guard was the fact that many are also our nation’s veterans. Read more »

Finding Federal Employment: Appreciation and Insight for Veterans

“As a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, my work as a logistics embarkation specialist gave me ability to multi-task on a number of important projects.  These skills were crucial to my transition to my position here at AMS,” said Lauren Hilliker, AMS Fruit and Vegetable Programs.  She is shown here with another AMS employee, Candice Spalding, talking with veterans and Justice Department staff at a NAVSEA career event in September 2011.

“As a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, my work as a logistics embarkation specialist gave me ability to multi-task on a number of important projects. These skills were crucial to my transition to my position here at AMS,” said Lauren Hilliker, AMS Fruit and Vegetable Programs. She is shown here with another AMS employee, Candice Spalding, talking with veterans and Justice Department staff at a NAVSEA career event in September 2011.

At the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), we employ several veterans from different branches of the armed services.  Their experience and training built them into strong multi-taskers, leaders and analytical thinkers—all of them invaluable teammates and civil servants.  They each took a different path to get to USDA, and the skills and abilities they honed during their military service were crucial to their successful transition into their civilian career paths. Read more »