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Posts tagged: schools

Indiana Students Show USDA How to Eat Healthy and Be Active in School

By Susie Stanfield, Fishers Elementary Physical Education Teacher, Fishers, IN (near Indianapolis)

We were really excited when USDA Food and Nutrition Deputy Administrator Audrey Rowe visited our school on Friday, May 21st. Students from Mrs. Trees’ 3rd grade class showed Ms. Rowe how fun it is to exercise in school by participating in a cardio/station activity focused on the “Indy 500 Race.” After class, everyone went to the cafeteria for lunch prepared by Tracy Huser, our cafeteria manager, and her staff. Ms. Rowe held a roundtable with parents, teachers, students, and our district administrators to discuss nutrition and school lunch options. We’re all hoping these ideas will help develop healthy eating habits for years to come and assist the next generation in fighting obesity and health problems.

Third graders in Fishers Elementary gym class.
Third graders in Fishers Elementary gym class.

Deputy Administrator Audrey Rowe joins the Fishers Elementary School lunch line.
Deputy Administrator Audrey Rowe joins the Fishers Elementary School lunch line.

Deputy Adminstrator Audrey Rowe enjoys lunch with third graders at Fishers Elementary School.
Deputy Adminstrator Audrey Rowe enjoys lunch with third graders at Fishers Elementary School.

The 2010 Census: We Can’t Move Forward Until You Mail it Back

By taking just 10 minutes to answer just 10 questions, farmers and rural residents can help ensure a bright future for their local communities. The 2010 Census is now on its way to every household in the United States – and the results will have a major impact on rural America.

The U.S. Constitution requires a national census once every 10 years to count the population and determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, the federal government uses census data to allocate more than $400 billion each year to state, local and tribal governments.

These funds support many of structures and services critical to the health and sustainability of rural areas, including hospitals, schools, senior centers, job training facilities, roads, bridges and telecommunications infrastructure.

I can think of few segments of the population that have more at stake in this census than rural America. In this economic climate, many rural communities are already struggling. And in recent years, many of them have suffered significant population losses. This makes it especially important that each and every rural resident be counted so their communities receive a fair share of representation and funding from the federal government.

Unlike the Census of Agriculture, which USDA conducts every five years to obtain in-depth information about the nation’s farms and ranches, the population census provides a quick snapshot of the entire nation. Both censuses are vital tools in ensuring the sustainability and prosperity of our rural communities.

So I urge you to please invest in your community’s future by taking 10 minutes to complete your 2010 Census form.

Cynthia Clark, Administrator, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

NASS is an agency of USDA’s Research, Education, and Extension Mission Area

Census workers have been busy visiting residents to increase awareness about the 2010 Census, verify addresses and answer questions. Credit: U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office
Census workers have been busy visiting residents to increase awareness about the 2010 Census, verify addresses and answer questions. Credit: U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office

Homes across the United States will receive a census packet this month. The package will include a census form and a privacy letter describing the confidentiality of the census data and how your privacy is protected. Credit: U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office
Homes across the United States will receive a census packet this month. The package will include a census form and a privacy letter describing the confidentiality of the census data and how your privacy is protected. Credit: U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office

An enumerator visits a farmer for the 1940 Census. One of the fifty questions Americans were asked in 1940 was, “Does the person’s household live on a farm?” Credit: Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-91199
An enumerator visits a farmer for the 1940 Census. One of the fifty questions Americans were asked in 1940 was, “Does the person’s household live on a farm?” Credit: Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-91199

Students Have Lively Discussion on Climate Change Across the Atlantic

Yesterday the U.S. Forest Service hosted a side-event at the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Change Conference with some very special stakeholders unable to make the trip. A video-conference discussing climate change was held between DC-area students at Forest Service headquarters and students in Copenhagen, Denmark. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack: Addressing Child Hunger and Improving Health

Today I testified before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Environment on the important issue of the upcoming reauthorization of the Department’s Child Nutrition Programs. We have a great opportunity right now to combat child hunger and improve the health and nutrition of children across the country, and we cannot let this moment pass us by. Read more »

Merrigan Highlights Successful Farm-to-School Programs

When we rolled out the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative back in September, a special highlight for me was the announcement of the Farm-to-School Tactical Teams.  Through the leadership of Congress and the 2008 Farm Bill, schools can now use federal dollars to support their local farmers all the while providing students with fresh, wholesome foods that taste like they came from just around the corner (because they did!). Read more »

Iowa School District Stays Local for School Meals

As we gear up for our next Facebook chat focusing on USDA’s work surrounding farm to schools efforts, I want to share with you a story that I came across in northeastern Iowa.

KellyBetty Hare prepares local corn for Independence Community School District students Duritsa, who is the School Food Service Director of the Independence Community School District in northeastern Iowa, was asking around about sourcing locally grown foods for her school breakfasts and lunches.  (With USDA’s help, schools around the country provide low-cost or free meals to schoolchildren each day.)  In this case, Kelly was able to link up with local farmers with the assistance of her school board, community members, and a coordinator at the local farmers market.  Now she can serve fresh and local foods like sweet corn, strawberries, apples, and asparagus to her hungry students.

Of course, we here at USDA recognize that Kelly and her team had to be smart to make the leap to serving fresh and local fruits and vegetables in her schools.  While it may seem like a simple, straightforward idea, this isn’t always the case. Starting with the fact that the school year and the growing season only overlap for a few months a year in most parts of the country, Food Service folk have to do serious planning ahead to make this work.

So, as we hold up the Independence Community School District as an example that others may follow, I want to invite you to join our Facebook chat on Thursday at 3pm as we discuss how we can help make local, healthy food a daily part of our children’s lives. Become a fan of the USDA on Facebook today!