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Posts tagged: HealthierUS School Challenge

Fruit and Veggie Tasting Prepares Students for Upcoming School Year

Fruit and Veggie Ambassadors sampling fresh fruit and vegetables at a Pawtucket Summer Food Service Program.

Fruit and Veggie Ambassadors sampling fresh fruit and vegetables at a Pawtucket Summer Food Service Program.

Do you know what a Malanga is? What about a Chocolate Pepper? The “Fruit and Vegetable Ambassador ” (F&V Ambassador) students of Slater Jr. High School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island learned about these unusual vegetables and more during their Summer Food Service Program fruit and vegetable taste testing. For the less adventurous vegetable eater, a Malanga is a root vegetable that has a nutlike flavor and when cut open looks similar to a sweet potato. A Chocolate Pepper is a purple Bell Pepper.

The students at this summer food program are nicknamed the “F&V Ambassadors” of their school. Along with this prestigious title, students get cool t-shirts and, most importantly, the responsibility of encouraging fellow students throughout the school year to make healthier decisions at lunchtime. Read more »

FNS Celebrates USDA’s 150 Years of Service

A Bureau of Printing and Engraving employee examines a run of food stamps for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for errors in May 1974. Photo courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

A Bureau of Printing and Engraving employee examines a run of food stamps for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for errors in May 1974. Photo courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

Happy Birthday USDA!!  We are 150 years strong, serving as federal department bettering the lives of the American people.  For over 40 years USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has served as the federal agency in USDA that administers the Nation’s domestic nutrition assistance programs.  Our 15 programs comprise the Nation’s food safety net, serving 1 in 4 Americans. They include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and The Emergency Food Assistance Program, among others. Read more »

Bringing Gold to the Red Poppy Capitol of Texas

Children listen attentively to the award ceremony.

Children listen attentively to the award ceremony.

Did you know that Georgetown is the Red Poppy Capital of Texas? I was surprised to find out that the city is known for the red poppy wildflowers that bloom throughout the city each spring. They hold the Red Poppy Festival each year in April and attract approximately 30,000 visitors. Read more »

From School Garden to Lunch Tray: Veggies Star in West Salem, Wisconsin

West Salem kindergarteners enjoy tacos, refried beans, Garden Bar, and grapes.

West Salem kindergarteners enjoy tacos, refried beans, Garden Bar, and grapes. (Photo courtesy of Sara Jeranek)

When it comes to local foods, it doesn’t get much fresher than vegetables direct from a school garden. In West Salem, Wisconsin, students are not only growing their own vegetables; they’re eating them – with enthusiasm — in their school lunches. Even more, they’re having fun planting, digging, and harvesting, while learning sustainable growing practices. Read more »

White House Recognizes HealthierUS School Challenge Schools

From left: Alex Roman, Walsh Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, First Lady Michelle Obama and Becky Bounds, Lamar County Schools, Mississippi. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a reception on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, Monday October 17, 2011 to honor the over 1200 winners in the HealthierUS Schools Challenge that met the First Lady’s goal to double the number of participants in the HealthierUS School Challenge in a year.

From left: Alex Roman, Walsh Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, First Lady Michelle Obama and Becky Bounds, Lamar County Schools, Mississippi. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a reception on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, Monday October 17, 2011 to honor the over 1200 winners in the HealthierUS Schools Challenge that met the First Lady’s goal to double the number of participants in the HealthierUS School Challenge in a year.

Watch a video from the White House event

Given that many children eat as many as two meals a day at school, it’s pretty clear that schools have a vital role to play if we’re going to combat the disturbing rise in childhood obesity we’ve seen in recent years. Just as clear is that schools participating in USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge honored at the White House this week demonstrate the kind of deep commitment needed to create and maintain a healthy school environment. These schools are leaders that set an example for schools across the country. Read more »

National School Lunch Week: A Time to Celebrate

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.

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 »