Direct certification can increase access to free school meals for eligible students.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is committed to helping America’s children get the nutritious food they need to learn and grow. Direct certification for school meals is one important strategy to make that possible for the low-income children. This process links student enrollment records to states’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program data, so children receiving SNAP or TANF can be directly certified for free school meals without having to submit additional paperwork through applications.
By using data already verified through SNAP and TANF, direct certification improves efficiency and accuracy for schools. Just as importantly, families are spared the burden of a separate meals application. Congress made direct certification a requirement for all schools through the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. Read more »
(Left to right) Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, USDA AMS Deputy Administrator Arthur Neal, Agricultural Market Service (AMS) Administrator Anne Alonzo, USDA Farmers Market Coordinator Annie Ceccarini, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Under Secretary Ed Avalos cut the ribbon opening at the USDA’s 2015 Farmers Market in the east parking lot of USDA in Washington, D.C. on Friday, May 1, 2015. USDA photo by Tom Witham.
This morning, Secretary Tom Vilsack and I kicked off the 20th season of the USDA Farmers Market. It was quite a celebration, complete with balloons, ribbon cutting and bell ringing! The market underwent a major redesign and expansion this year to make room for twice as many vendors as we’ve had in the past. Featuring everything from fresh oysters to delicious pastries to crisp lettuce, today’s market is full of delicious offerings from local farmers, ranchers and food businesses.
I am so proud that my agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service, has managed this market for the past 20 years, turning it into a true gathering place for USDA and its neighbors, including Washington, D.C.-area employees, residents in Ward 2 and visitors to the National Mall. The USDA Farmers Market also provides a great business opportunity for entrepreneurs. Read more »
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.
We’ve long recognized that what we eat affects our health. But distances to stores offering healthy and affordable foods—as well as travel modes—can play a role in what gets purchased and consumed. Are the poor at a disadvantage when it comes to getting to a grocery store? How do shoppers—poor and not poor—travel to their main grocery store and how far do they travel to get there?
A new survey funded by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and Food and Nutrition Service is ideally suited to answer these questions. The National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) collected information from a national sample of 4,826 households between April 2012 and January 2013 about where they shop for food and other unique, comprehensive data about household food purchases and acquisitions. FoodAPS is unique because it sampled a relatively large number of households that participate in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as nonparticipant households from three income levels. Read more »
Cross-posted from the White House Council of Economic Advisers blog:
Last year, the President directed Vice President Biden to lead a review of federal job training programs in order to identify and implement steps to make these programs more “job-driven” and responsive to the needs of employers. The idea was that — even as the economy continues to recover, with more open jobs than at any point since 2001 — we need to do more to make sure that we are giving workers the skills they need to compete for those jobs. This is core to the President’s vision for “middle-class economics,” in which Americans who are unemployed or in low-wage jobs have the opportunity to train and find jobs that create pathways to the middle-class.
Friday, as part of this effort, Secretaries Vilsack and Perez announced $200 million for projects designed to identify the most effective strategies to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) improve their skills and find jobs. Read more »
Text2BHealthy nutrition educator Lynn Rubin signs up another parent at Washington Grove Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md. during the school’s Fun and Fitness Spring Fair.
We all benefit from creative partnership. It’s especially true when some very savvy people leverage USDA Food and Nutrition Service programs to fight hunger and improve nutrition. Text2BHealthy is one such example, where the University of Maryland-led program uses popular technology to inspire healthy eating habits for low-income families.
Established three years ago by the University of Maryland Extension, Text2BHealthy links in-school nutrition programs to healthy behaviors at home. Using USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) education funds to underwrite the program, text messages are sent to parents about nutrition lessons, food tastings, and events taking place during the school day. The messages also highlight seasonal foods and recipes, as well as ways to create healthy meals at home. It even helps identify sales on local fruits and vegetables! Read more »
Zucchini Coleslaw is a delicious alternative to sweet coleslaws. Adding salsa instead of sugar to the coleslaw sauce gives each serving more nutrients and more flavor. Photo credit: Jennifer M. Anderson.
This is the fourth installment of the What’s Cooking? Blog Series. In honor of the Let’s Move 5th Anniversary, and the commitment USDA shares with Let’s Move to promote healthy eating and access to healthy foods, this month-long series will highlight the various features of the What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl recipe website.
Attention nutrition educators helping Americans make healthy and budget-friendly choices—this edition of the What’s Cooking? Blog Series is for you! If you haven’t already heard, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipes have a new home on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl web site. This site combines recipes designed for SNAP-Ed, child nutrition programs, the food distribution program, and ChooseMyPlate.gov. Visit What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl, and you will see that there are hundreds of healthy recipes for educators to browse and use in nutrition education programming. For example, how do Zucchini Coleslaw, Mozzarella Chicken with Garlic Spinach, A Simple Mexican Salad, or Ginger Orange Muffins sound?
Many of the recipes found in What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl were created for educating recipients of SNAP benefits. The goal of the education component of SNAP, commonly called SNAP-Ed, is to improve the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy choices, within a limited budget, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate. The SNAP recipes were developed by SNAP-Ed educators to do just that! Read more »