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How One School in Georgia Handles The Most Important Meal of the Day

A student works hard on her assignment while eating a grab ‘n’ go breakfast in Mikelle Caine’s second grade advance class at Lake Forest Elementary School, Sandy Springs, Ga., (USDA photo by Debbie Smoot).

A student works hard on her assignment while eating a grab ‘n’ go breakfast in Mikelle Caine’s second grade advance class at Lake Forest Elementary School, Sandy Springs, Ga., (USDA photo by Debbie Smoot).

Some say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have to agree especially when it comes to children. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast helps keep kids alert and focused on learning rather than lunch. But not every child eats a nutritious breakfast at home. In fact, even though 32 million students participate in the National School Lunch Program each day, only 12 million students eat a school breakfast daily. That means we have to continue to work to get those school breakfast numbers up! Read more »

Giving Citrus this Holiday Season? Four Things You Need to Know

If you are looking to give a thoughtful, healthy gift this holiday season, citrus is the way to go. But beware of infected citrus fruit and plants, especially if you plan to buy citrus online.

Before you give citrus, here are four things you should know: Read more »

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Our Favorite Social Media Moments from 2011

As 2011 draws to an end, this is a time where we begin to look back on things we learned or achieved, and to make resolutions for the year ahead.  We wanted to take the end of 2011 to look back on the wide range of social media activities that we had the pleasure of planning, executing and watching unfold across the Department in an effort to better serve you, our most important audience. From Twitter chats, to video challenges, to new ways to share valuable data, we think USDA really upped the ante on the social media front this year.

Read more »

Rediscovering Our Roots in December

A root vegetable stew. Preparing a colorful dish like this is the perfect way to celebrate root vegetable month. (Photo courtesy of Marylin Acosta)

A root vegetable stew. Preparing a colorful dish like this is the perfect way to celebrate root vegetable month. (Photo courtesy of Marylin Acosta)

During December, we often fill our plates with holiday treats.  Traditional foods like ham, turkey, latkes or brisket are often the star of our meals, but there is still plenty of room on your plate to celebrate root vegetable month. Read more »

Conservation Helps a Rancher Survive Historic Drought Conditions

Stuart Fisher, left, shows NRCS soil scientist Tom Clark new grass growth.

Stuart Fisher, left, shows NRCS soil scientist Tom Clark new grass growth.

Texas landowners and producers could never have predicted the severe drought conditions this year, which have impacted small and large operations alike. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is helping many of these ranchers and farmers survive the ongoing drought—including Stuart Fisher, a rancher in Ellis County. Read more »

Organic 101: What Organic Farming (and Processing) Doesn’t Allow

The USDA organic label on dairy or meat products means that the animals from which it originated were raised in living conditions that accommodated their natural behaviors, without being administered hormones or antibiotics, and while grazing on pasture grown on healthy soil.  Photo by Ryan Thompson.

The USDA organic label on dairy or meat products means that the animals from which it originated were raised in living conditions that accommodated their natural behaviors, without being administered hormones or antibiotics, and while grazing on pasture grown on healthy soil. Photo by Ryan Thompson.

This is the first in series of Organic 101 pieces that will explore the different rules within the USDA organic regulations.

When it comes to organic foods, it’s just as important to know what isn’t allowed as what is.  The organic standards are process-based, meaning they establish the rules for an entire system of farming that follows a product from its beginnings on the farm all the way to retail. Read more »