Cross posted from the White House blog:
Three years ago, I was asked to participate in the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, out of which grew the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. In May 2010, we submitted a report to the President that made a series of recommendations for addressing the challenges of obesity and hunger, both of which stem from a lack of access to good, healthy food. The report identified local food systems as a strategy to combat food access problems, and specifically called upon the USDA “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Initiative to provide technical and financial assistance to help communities grow and process their own food, and create jobs at the same time.
I’m pleased to report that we’ve made a lot of progress since 2009 – and we have two new tools to help communities learn about what we’ve done and tap into USDA resources to develop their own solutions. The new Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass is a document packed with photos, video and case studies of communities building strong local food systems. Farmers’ markets, mobile produce vendors, farm to school initiatives, and food hubs are just a few of many examples highlighted by the Compass. The Healthy Food Access section shows how communities are using USDA resources to promote health and the local economy. Read more »
Chicago Public School students enjoying fresh peaches with “furry skin.”
Feeding thousands children a healthy lunch every day isn’t easy. But as Farm to School programs become an important way to build local economies and connect youth with their food source, some school districts are getting creative about improving the healthfulness, and local-ness, of their cafeteria. Read more »
Savory chicken, sweet and spicy baked beans, and glazed carrots were part of the new recipe served to students in Chicago schools.
One of USDA’s most important missions is providing healthy meals to school lunch programs across the country. In a unique partnership, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) agencies teamed up with Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! non-profit organization, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system and Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality to create and serve a new healthy, tasty and exciting school lunch recipe.
To do this, Bob Bloomer of Chartwells-Thompson, the provider of meals in most of Chicago’s schools, worked with the Agricultural Marketing Service to acquire fresh, unprocessed chicken. After issuing a solicitation and competitive bids from domestic suppliers, the Agricultural Marketing Service awarded the first contract for two truckloads—that’s 80,000 pounds —of raw chicken leg quarters for shipment to Chicago’s schools.
Read more »
Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton (center right) and American Culinary Federation Chef David S. Bearl (center left) pose with RB Hunt Elementary first graders from Christine Skipp’s and Lori Hall’s class as they show off pumpkins. Thornton and Bearl visited the school located in St. Augustine, Fla., on Oct 18, to celebrate Farm to School Month and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Chefs Move to Schools initiative. The pumpkins were harvested from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural farm, Hastings, Fla., and were also used in the school’s lunch for the day. (Photo by Lanna Kirk)
Nothing says autumn like pumpkins fresh from the farm! And since it’s Farm to School month, It’s fitting that I joined Christine Skipp, Lori Hall and their first grade class at RB Hunt Elementary School, in St. Augustine, Fla. to sample 11 different varieties of pumpkins. We took advantage of this fall’s harvest from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences farm in Hastings, Fla. Read more »
U. S. Representative Rush Holt (left) and USDA Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Pat Dombroski mingle with proud children showing off their school garden before tasting an eatable flower grown just a few feet away.
How does one turn a cold, miserable rainy day in late October into one as bright and warm as a sunny day in June? Just visit a local elementary school where students and teachers and community volunteers are all so excited about the bountiful garden out back behind the school. A magical place where young minds learn about growing healthy foods, about earthworms and soil, about cover crops and harvesting, about composting and frost dates, and about how tasty that strange looking vegetable with the funny name is . . . the one they started to grow from seedlings last school year. Read more »