Jennifer Redell, a conservation biologist/cave and mine specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, gives a close up and personal look at a straw-coloured fruit bat, the most widely distributed of the African fruit bats. Bats fulfill many important ecosystem functions, such as pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds during their flights. (U.S. Forest Service)
Bats have quite the list of positive effects in our world, from the billions of dollars they save in pesticides to natural pollination and seed spreading. Bats eat about one-half of their body weight in insects each night.
We need bats.
In honor of our furry, flying mammal friends, consider pulling for bats during Bat Week from Oct. 24-31. You can make a difference, whether you get a group together to literally pull invasive plants to help improve habitat and food for bats or figuratively “pull” for bats by sharing why they are important to our ecosystem with your friends and family. And, the great news is that you don’t have to be an adult to help bats. Read more »
A group of people eating healthy food.
Today, we are delighted to announce the release of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
We know that a lifetime of healthy eating helps to prevent chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes. The Dietary Guidelines provides a clear path for the general public, as well as policy makers and health professionals and others who reach the public, to help Americans make healthy choices, informed by a thoughtful, critical, and transparent review of the scientific evidence on nutrition.
Obesity and other chronic diseases come not only with increased health risks, but also at a high cost. Healthy eating is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce the onset of disease. Read more »
MyPlate Holiday Makeover: Green Mashed Potatoes
The MyPlate Team continues to share “Makeover Monday” recipes each week on the USDA blog and the MyPlate Facebook page through January 6th.
This recipe was originally created for another festive day. But everyone loved “green-mash” potatoes so much that this family favorite became part of our Thanksgiving Feast.
Since my family has an Irish ancestry, we first started making this Green-Mash Potatoes Recipe for St. Patrick’s Day. Green peas add a slightly sweet flavor, and the garlic and pepper gives it some zip. The white pepper is optional, especially if serving to little kids. A sprinkle of Kosher salt on top brings out the flavors, yet the sodium is much lower than traditional mashed potatoes. And also, kids think the chartreuse-green color is fun! Read more »
A Classic Holiday Favorite: Sarah’s Green Bean Casserole
The holiday season has finally arrived! It’s time to find your favorite family recipes and start cooking! While many of our favorite dishes help us to remember and celebrate special times, choosing healthier options can be a challenge. Let MyPlate help you find solutions with “MyPlate Holiday Makeovers.” During our eight-week series, you’ll find ways to celebrate the season with great new resources such as recipes, a new infographic, and tips for preparing your holiday feast. Read more »
This is one of more than 75 charts and maps in Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials from USDA’s Economic Research Service, compiling a set of key statistics on the ag and food sectors and the rural economy. Each chart in the collection includes accompanying text.
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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
With the abundance of news and information on the food and agriculture sector, sometimes it is helpful to take a step back and look at the big picture. You might be a seasoned expert on food, agriculture, or the rural economy, or you may have just a general knowledge. In any case, there are a number of key indicators that will bring you up to speed on a range of basic questions.
How much, for example, do agriculture and related industries contribute to the U.S. economy? Which commodities are our main agricultural exports? What share of their household incomes do Americans spend on food? How do job earnings in rural areas compare with metro areas? How much of our Nation’s water does agriculture consume? Read more »
Kid-Friendly, Classic American and Foodie Fare MyPlate Picnic Menus
A picnic is an easy and relaxing holiday activity. USDA’s MyPlate resources can help take the “labor” out of your Labor Day picnic. You can enjoy an easy, healthy meal by following this simple MyPlate formula: 5 food groups + family and friends = fun! When planning your picnic, be sure to include more healthful choices of menu items from each food group (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy) and water or 100% juice to drink.
Celebrate the end of summer by enjoying seasonal fruits. You can make an easy (and portable) fruit salad by dicing up fresh fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, plums, kiwi, and strawberries. If you choose to include apples, bananas, or pears, just add a splash of citrus (like orange juice) to prevent browning. And if you’re feeling more adventurous, try this refreshing MyPlate watermelon gazpacho recipe. You can bring it in a lidded container, or divide into jars for individual portions. Read more »