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

Food For Thought Initiative Improving Nutrition and Fighting Hunger

Celebrity chef and author, Art Smith, joins Sesame Street’s Elmo in a healthy and affordable cooking demonstration during the unveiling of a new Sesame Street Workshop initiative, Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget. This free bi-lingual (English-Spanish) multimedia outreach initiative, with funding and partnership support of UnitedHealthcare and The Merck Company Foundation, is designed to help support families who have children between the ages of two and eight, cope with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food. The event took place at the Capital Food Bank in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Photo credit: Gil Vaknin/Sesame Workshop

Celebrity chef and author, Art Smith, joins Sesame Street’s Elmo in a healthy and affordable cooking demonstration during the unveiling of a new Sesame Street Workshop initiative, Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget. This free bi-lingual (English-Spanish) multimedia outreach initiative, with funding and partnership support of UnitedHealthcare and The Merck Company Foundation, is designed to help support families who have children between the ages of two and eight, cope with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food. The event took place at the Capital Food Bank in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Photo credit: Gil Vaknin/Sesame Workshop

There was plenty of warmth and goodwill keeping a bitterly cold Washington morning at bay as I joined the folks at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, at today’s rollout of their Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget, multi-media outreach initiative.  The educational outreach materials are designed to help support families with children between the ages of two and eight, by nurturing their overall development through good nutrition to create positive outcomes that will last a lifetime.  The campaign is aimed at the nearly one in four American children–seventeen million, based on our own USDA Food Security Report estimates–who don’t get the food that meets basic nutritional needs due to difficult economic or social conditions.  There couldn’t be a more appropriate time, given our current economic circumstances, or a more fitting place to have the discussion than on Sesame Street, the best known street in the world, with Elmo and friends, some of the best known characters in America. Read more »

Promise of Broadband Expansion Coming True

Plowing fiber optic cable in Northwest Kansas. (Photo courtesy of Rural Telephone)

Plowing fiber optic cable in Northwest Kansas. (Photo courtesy of Rural Telephone)

In the days of the Great Depression, the National Recovery Act had as part of its focus the development of rural America. The primary initiatives of that era were development of electrical and telephone systems throughout the nation. Read more »

Thanksgiving

My family spent Thanksgiving morning at the D.C. Central Kitchen, where we helped prepare dinners for the homeless and needy in our nation’s capitol.  While some might describe our act as ‘giving to others,’ truth is that it was a gift to us.  I want my children, aged 10 and 11, to understand that not everyone has what they do and that we need to care about others and serve our community.  We all had a blast, by the way, and it made this Thanksgiving one of the best ever!

This is not a soup kitchen, but a centralized kitchen facility that prepares around 4,000 meals daily which are delivered by a fleet of trucks to partner agencies like homeless shelters, rehabilitation clinics, and after school programs.  Read more »

Winter Farmers Markets are Hot Despite the Cold Weather

USDA Farmers Market Directory Counts Nearly 900 Winter Farmers Markets.

The tents are up. The vendors are ready, with proud displays of local produce, meats, baked goods, and other delights. Customers are out – shopping, visiting, and mingling.  It’s a typical farmers market scene, robust with fresh, healthful, local food and lively connections between consumers and producers.

It must be the height of summer, right? Read more »

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 »