Today a news report claimed that schools across the country are dropping out of the National School Lunch Program because the standards are too difficult to implement.
The truth is that the vast majority of schools across the country are meeting the updated meal standards successfully, which is so important to help all our Nations children lead healthier lives. Even before the new standards took effect and more resources were available, many schools across the country were leading the way with healthier options and appropriate portion sizes. In fact, schools that adopted the changes earlier report that participation increased as students and parents became accustomed to the healthier options. USDA continues to provide additional flexibility and technical assistance to schools as they all now work to offer healthier meals. We also encourage the very few eligible school districts that have chosen not to participate in the program to take steps to ensure all children will still have access to healthy, affordable meals during the school day. Read more »
In honor of back to school week, USDA offers an array of youth-focused curriculum and learning resources. Photo Courtesy of Arlington Public Schools.
It’s that time of year! Back to school season is upon us and agencies across the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working to ensure a stronger and healthier future for our nation’s next generation of leaders. That means providing a happy and healthy learning environment for our kids, and helping them grow up with the tools they need to succeed. Read more »
Teachers and students from Adams-Friendship Middle School in Adams, Wisconsin are growing a beautiful People’s Garden in the interior courtyard of their school.
Numerous excellent school garden programs have sprouted up across the country. School gardens often provide food that improves a child’s diet and nutrition, areas for learning, places for pleasure and recreation, as well as a continuing lesson in environmental stewardship and civic pride. But how do they take root?
School gardens are sown with similar considerations but vary based upon its geographic location, funding, grade level involvement, size, type and purpose. For anyone looking to begin a gardening program at a school, here are some tips to consider before you get growing:
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Back-to-school is an exciting time of year that provides new opportunities for teaching and learning. The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion offers great nutrition resources for young children, parents, and educators for this upcoming school year. ChooseMyPlate.gov now features MyPlate Kids’ Place, a new section of the website designed for children between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. MyPlate Kids’ Place offers fun resources for kids, such as games, videos, and songs, that encourage them to make better food and physical activity choices throughout the school year. In addition, resources for parents and educators are available to engage their children and students in “teachable moments” that will influence their food decisions. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at a meeting of the White House Rural Council to an audience of the National State President’s Conference of the FFA on Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Secretary Vilsack took questions from the audience and discussed international, national and agricultural production topics with the FFA State President’s. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.
Editor’s Note: Yesterday, Secretary Vilsack had the opportunity to speak with some of our nation’s brightest young leaders at the National FFA Organization’s State Presidents’ Conference. He discussed USDA’s efforts to revitalize the rural economy and recognized the officers for their commitment to leadership, personal growth and career success. Below is a blog post submitted to USDA by Clay Sapp, 2012-13 National FFA President. Read more »
Judges, including Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let's Move! (second from right), and Robert Post, Associate Executive Director, USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (fourth from right), score lunch recipes submitted by kids from around the country. Winning recipes were served at the White House for the Kids' State Dinner on July 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
On July 9th, budding young chefs gathered at the White House for the Let’s Move! Kids’ State Dinner, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama, to celebrate their culinary accomplishments in the Epicurious “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge”. Let’s Move!, Epicurious, the U.S. Department of Education, and USDA collaborated on the challenge and honored the 54 finalists who created the winning recipes at last week’s celebration. Contestants were challenged to come up with healthy recipes using USDA’s MyPlate food icon for inspiration. The winning recipes reflected the appealing symbol, with healthy amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy.
I was honored to be USDA’s advisor and a judge for this year’s competition, and attend the Kids’ State Dinner with the winners. Here, at the USDA, we are proud to see this national example of how MyPlate is helping children make healthy choices when preparing and consuming food. Events such as this encourage other children to adopt good eating patterns and pursue healthy lifestyles. Read more »