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Posts tagged: Aneesh Chopra

USDA Rural Utilities Administrator Visits Supai Tribe in Arizona to Announce a Recovery Act Broadband Project

Rainbow in the Grand Canyon as seen from Near Mather Point on the South Rim, Grand Canyon N.P. NPS photo.

Rainbow in the Grand Canyon as seen from Near Mather Point on the South Rim, Grand Canyon N.P. NPS photo.

Few places in the U.S. are as secluded as Supai. Nestled in a side canyon of the Grand Canyon, it has the distinction of being the most remote community in the lower 48 states. The only way in or out is to walk, ride a mule, or take a helicopter. Read more »

Apps and Game Designers Level Up on Healthy Eating

From left: Peter Rhee, United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Communications grabs a few photographs for the USDA Blog as former Washington Redskins Running Back Brian Mitchell competes against brothers Frederick, Antonio and Joseph Blackwell (not shown) in the the computer game, “Smash Your Food.” “Smash Your Food” is the Third Place winning app in the The Apps for Healthy Kids games competition. Frederick won the game and a signed replica Pro Bowl helmet from Mitchell. The Apps for Healthy Kids competition is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. The competition challenges software developers, game designers, students and other innovators to develop fun and engaging software tools and games to urge children, especially “tweens” (children ages 9-12) – directly or through their parents – to eat better and be more physically active. The applications are software tools or games for the web, personal computer, mobile handheld device, console or any software platform available to the public. The winners were honored at the White House, Wednesday, September 29. USDA Photo 10di15067-24 by Bob Nichols.

From left: Peter Rhee, USDA, grabs a few photographs as former Washington Redskins Running Back Brian Mitchell competes against brothers Frederick, Antonio and Joseph Blackwell (not shown) in the the computer game, “Smash Your Food.” “Smash Your Food” is the Third Place winning app in the The Apps for Healthy Kids games competition. Frederick won the game and a replica Pro Bowl helmet signed by Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns and Chris Hope of the Tennessee Titans.

Six months ago the Apps for Healthy Kids competition called upon Americans to design engaging online or mobile games and tools to educate people of all ages about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. As part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, this challenge brought together solvers from across the Nation. Read more »

Apps for Healthy Kids: All Hands on Deck to End Childhood Obesity

Cross-Posted from the Let’s Move Blog

By Aneesh Chopra, United States Chief Technology Officer

Thank you for your participation! By the time the Apps for Healthy Kids competition submission period closed last week, we had 160 submissions in hand and nearly 20,000 supporters. Now we are reviewing all submissions for eligibility and will have them all up on the www.appsforhealthykids.com website and ready to view by July 14. Our intention through this endeavor was to inspire software developers, game designers, and students from across the United States to develop fun and engaging tools to inspire and empower children to eat better and be more physically active. We are very excited to have received your many creative submissions, and equally excited to transition now to the voting phase of the competition. Read more »

The National Summit of Rural America: A Dialogue of Renewing Promise

Cross-posted from the White House Blog

By Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

As the Obama Administration National Rural Summit came to a close yesterday, there was a general feeling of hope for the future of America’s rural communities. But there was also a sense that a host of partners – federal, state, and local governments, non-profit and for-profit entities, and most of all the good people who live in rural America – must work together to bring about the change our rural communities so deserve.

One of our panelists, Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer of the United States, acknowledged that although the day’s conversation had covered a breadth of important topics, challenges still lay ahead for rural America. The wide range of issues that will be involved in driving the economic revitalization of rural America span not only several government departments and agencies, but also hit home in every community across the country. With only a limited time to discuss the topics concerning rural communities at the summit, I encourage the public to keep the conversation going to ensure a successful future for the rural economy. That can be done as simply as talking with a neighbor, or by offering your ideas to the White House by visiting the Open Government Initiative.

One underlying theme of our conversations yesterday was the importance of educating the public about rural America in order to get our rural communities the attention and support they need to thrive. Over the last year, Deputy Secretary Merrigan and I have visited almost all 50 states, in an attempt to focus attention on the pursuit of the American dream within rural communities, and to illustrate how far around the country the reaches of rural America go. But this can only go so far. The conversation needs to extend into all of our communities, so folks understand that the strength of this nation relies on the strength of our rural communities.

Rural America plays an important role in our nation’s value system, which can be seen from family to family across countryside communities. Almost all of our founding fathers had rural upbringings, and a rural mindset imbued our foundational documents. In his remarks, Dr. Cummiskey, President of Jefferson College where the Summit was held, recalled a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “…there seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war,.. the second by commerce… and the third by agriculture, the only honest way.

There is still truth in Benjamin Franklin’s words. Small towns across this nation are filled with fundamentally good people who are raising their families and instilling a strong set of values in their children. They are generous and compassionate people, hard working, playing by the rules. They are everything we try to teach our kids to be.

And so we owe it to these folks to help them chart a better future for their families. I think if our country takes a few minutes – and if we can focus our attention on rural America – then I think our potential is unlimited. I foresee a day in rural America where the entrepreneur can prosper, where more and more of our energy is being produced on our farms. I foresee a day with prosperous main streets in small towns across the nation. I see a day when parents can turn to their sons and daughters and tell them they don’t have to travel far from home to experience the American dream – but that they can live it right here in rural America.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the opening session of the National Rural Summit held at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, MO. June 3, 2010. (by Alice Welch)
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the opening session of the National Rural Summit held at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, MO. June 3, 2010. (by Alice Welch)

A Dialogue on Rural America was the first discussion panel held at the National Rural Summit. (Panelists L to R Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President Aneesh Chopra, President of Show Me Energy Steve Flick, President of National Corn Growers Association Darrin Ihnen, Past President of National Association of Conservation Districts John Redding, Mayor of Philadelphia, Mississippi James Young, Agriculture Broadcaster at WGN radio Max Armstrong, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack). June 3, 2010. (by Alice Welch)
A Dialogue on Rural America was the first discussion panel held at the National Rural Summit. (Panelists L to R Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President Aneesh Chopra, President of Show Me Energy Steve Flick, President of National Corn Growers Association Darrin Ihnen, Past President of National Association of Conservation Districts John Redding, Mayor of Philadelphia, Mississippi James Young, Agriculture Broadcaster at WGN radio Max Armstrong, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack). June 3, 2010. (by Alice Welch)

Seeking Game-Changing Solutions to Childhood Obesity

By Aneesh Chopra – Federal Chief Technology Officer

Yesterday the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted a workshop to gather insight from leading experts in the fields of gaming and technology to inform the development of a nutrition game-design challenge. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services is preparing to launch the Innovations for Healthy Kids Challenge, a call to American entrepreneurs, software developers, and students to use a recently released USDA nutrition data set to create innovative, fun, and engaging web-based learning applications that motivate kids, especially “tweens” (aged 9-12) and their parents, to eat more healthfully and be more physically active.

Thirty-one experts joined the meeting—some via teleconference—to offer their knowledge and experience related to game design, entertainment technology, social media, and skill contests, in reaction to a previously circulated concept paper outlining key components of the contest.

Our intention here is to invite you to join this discussion. Here are some of the major design-related themes, that emerged from the Workshop, around which we’d like to get input from you:

  • Goal: We discussed the potential for games – powered by nutrition data – to change behavior in our target segment (“tweens” between the ages of 9-12 and their parents). Design questions focused on whether the contest should result in a finished, high-impact game or one that continually evolves over time (“gaming as a service”). How would you recommend we address this question in the design of our contest?


  • Incentives: We discussed government limitations on the size of the prize ($3,000 – a purse we’ve awarded in public service announcement contests as well). Design questions focused on the degree to which other stakeholders might supplement the prize with privately raised funds; develop new markets for educational games, including schools, parents, and after-school programs; and recognize finalists at the White House or other venues. What incentives would you recommend we deploy to maximize high quality participation?


  • Final Product: We acknowledged a spectrum of potential final products– including “back of the envelope” ideas, game story boards, working prototypes, and market-ready “final” products. In addition, we discussed the possibility of multiple phases to capture the breadth and quality of potential submissions (perhaps an early round seeking top ideas/story boards to be developed into games in round two). How should we design the competition in a manner that inspires and empowers both professionals willing to volunteer hours to the competition and students willing to build a game that doubles as a semester class assignment? How do we address the myriad game product categories – from casual games to fully developed titles?


  • Your Commitment: A great deal of the conversation focused on how individuals might complement the official competition with commitments they could offer from their respective positions – whether it would be incorporating nutrition data in already-developed games, faculty assigning class time towards building nutrition games, or organizations spreading the word about the contest. How might you be willing to help? Please post any commitments your firm, foundation, school or other organization might be willing to offer as we build a national movement to address childhood obesity.


Thank you in advance for your ideas on these important questions.

Aneesh Chopra is Chief Technology Officer of the United States