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Food Banks: A boots on the ground effort

I have been with the USDA for a little over six months, and have had bouts of excitement and nervousness that come with learning the ins and outs of featured programs like Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other nutrition initiatives. It wasn’t until I sat down and researched the agency, that I understood the breadth of our program portfolio and their numerous benefits for millions of Americans. Fast forward a half year, and the complexities of becoming an effective hunger advocate are evident. Invited to attend the Tarrant Area Food Bank Partners Meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, my eyes opened to a much larger world. Read more »

Children Explore Agricultural Science on Wheels

Young chemists in action.

Young chemists in action.

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.

Ahhh!  Remember the days of taking classroom field trips?  Bet you never had one like this—a virtual visit by a classroom on wheels that drives right up to the school’s front door! Read more »

Texas FSA Fills Teaching Gap in School District

When Terri Trevino heard that the agriculture program in the Calvert Independent School District in Texas might be suspended due to the lack of an instructor, she immediately turned to the Farm Service Agency to fill the gap.

“I knew that it was important to keep the agriculture program active because of the town’s background and dependence on agriculture as a way of life,” said Trevino, farm loan manager for Bell, Falls, Milam and Williamson counties in Texas. “I also know how important the role of a teacher is in keeping kids interested in learning and staying in school.” Read more »

High Hopes For High Tunnels

Completed hoop houses at the White House garden.

Completed hoop houses at the White House Garden.

Cross-posted from the Let’s Move! Blog:

Question:

What are those giant clear caterpillar looking things in the White House garden?

Answer:

They are high tunnels and they are another step in increasing the ability of farmers and gardeners around the nation to grow and provide healthy nutritious fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Read more »

USDA Supports Principals and Parents at Chicago Breakfast

Chicago Public School teachers submit Healthier US School Challenge applications for gold awards to USDA’s Audrey Rowe, Healthy Schools Campaign’s Rochelle Davis, and Chicago Public Schools’ Louise Esaian at a November event hosted by Healthy Schools Campaign.

Chicago Public School teachers submit Healthier US School Challenge applications for gold awards to USDA’s Audrey Rowe, Healthy Schools Campaign’s Rochelle Davis, and Chicago Public Schools’ Louise Esaian at a November event hosted by Healthy Schools Campaign.

While some might think that Chicagoans are only passionate about sports and pizza, they’re mistaken. In fact, lately it seems that residents of the Second City are as jazzed about the food their children eat at school as they are about their Bulls and Bears. Read more »

North Carolina Builds Its Local Food Economy

From Farm to Fork: A Guide to Building North Carolina’s Sustainable Local Food Economy provides a model for other states and municipalities to copy the local foods progress in North Carolina.

A team of industry and university leaders from North Carolina visited USDA recently to tell us about their work in building a stronger statewide local food system. Nancy Creamer of North Carolina State University, John O’Sullivan and Shorlette Ammons of North Carolina A&T State University, and Cheryl Queen of Compass Group North America are all involved in various ways in the leadership of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). Read more »