A wide variety of eggplant sold at the North Carolina Farmers Market. The North Carolina State Farmers Market is one of the local markets covered by USDA Market News. Photo by Justin Henry.
Urban agriculture and gardening can be an important tool in confronting several key challenges that Americans face: from supporting farm viability in and around urban areas to improving access to healthful, affordable food to realizing the potential of rural-urban linkages. Read more »
Under Secretary Kevin Concannon takes a photo of his lunch mates last month at Arcola Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md. Concannon presented all 132 Montgomery County Elementary Schools with Healthier US Schools Challenge Bronze awards.
Every child deserves to have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. That’s reason enough to recognize the nutritional accomplishments of our school meals programs during National School Lunch Week, Oct. 10-14. But there is more to celebrate… Read more »
Locally grown fresh vegetables and fruits are sliced and ready to students at Hebron-Harmon Elementary School in Hanover, MD. The sign identifies the name of the local farm.
In 1996, only two schools nationwide bought food directly from farmers in their region through what are called farm-to-school programs. Today, these programs exist in over 2,000 U.S. schools – and a new pilot program in Michigan and Florida could send that number ticking quickly upward.
Farm-to-school programs are a win-win-win for America’s farmers and ranchers, our students, and our schools. Last year, members of USDA’s Farm-to-School team visited fifteen schools across the country to check out their programs and were amazed by what they saw: “Kentucky Proud” signs posted next to locally-sourced food in the cafeterias of Montgomery County, KY public schools; twenty local products for lunch at schools in the Independence, IA Community School District; students at Harrisonburg, VA public schools who knew the name of the farmer supplying lettuce for their salad bar. Read more »
Chicago SFSP partners kick off the city’s summer feeding season.
During my recent trip to Chicago, I had the great fortune to visit several places that were doing tremendous work with many of USDA’s nutrition programs. One of the first stops was to a local school where children were really excited to learn more about where their food comes from. Read more »
I was honored to accompany Governor Lincoln Chafee at the Rhode Island Agriculture Day held at the Statehouse in Providence. In my remarks to farmers, agriculture organizations, legislators, and government officials, I emphasized the Obama Administration’s commitment to Rural America, and complimented producers for being a model for the nation in direct marketing of agricultural products.
Ten percent of Rhode Island’s agricultural sales move through direct marketing channels such as farmers markets, roadside stands and CSA’s. In addition, Rhode Island has developed a successful Farm-to-School program and a Farm-to-Plate program with local restaurants. Read more »
USDA ramps up its support for farm to school programs.
The 2008 Farm Bill contained more support for local and regional food systems than ever before, with provisions such as a 5% set-aside within the Rural Development Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program and increased funding for the Farmers Market Promotion Program. Farm to school efforts also received significant support as the Bill gave allowance for school districts to apply the option of a “geographic preference” when buying unprocessed locally grown or raised foods. Read more »