Today I hosted my very first twitter chat. Seeing all the conversations fly by in real-time on Tweetdeck was overwhelming at first but I quickly got the hang of it. I was happy to see so many tweeters send questions to our @USDA Twitter account for me to answer. I really hope that the chat was informative and interesting to all of you who participated. It certainly was for me!
As a mom, grandmother and someone who spent many valuable years working in schools, I understand—first-hand—the great feedback that people provided. There are challenges in meeting the needs of growing children, and I believe the improvements we’ve made to school meals will go a long way toward meeting those challenges. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do so far. Read more »
Now that the school year has started, everyone is abuzz about the healthier meals being served at schools all over the country. As a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, starting this fall, school meals are featuring more whole grains, both fruits and vegetables at every meal, and less sodium and trans fat. Portion sizes are adjusted for age, among other improvements.
As a result, you may have questions like:
What kinds of new foods will my child’s school offer?
What prompted the changes?
What can I do to help my child eat healthier at home? Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks with stakeholders at the Iowa State Fair during the White House Rural Forum in 2011. USDA Photo by Darin Leach.
Tonight, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join RURAL TV and RFD-TV live at the Iowa State Fair to discuss the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s continuing efforts to assist farmers and ranchers impacted by drought.
As part of continuing steps by the Obama Administration to assist livestock producers in response to the historic drought, USDA will utilize nearly $16 million in financial and technical assistance to immediately help crop and livestock producers in 19 states cope with the adverse impacts of the historic drought. In addition, USDA will initiate a transfer of $14 million in unobligated program funds into the Emergency Conservation Program. These funds can be used to assist in moving water to livestock in need, providing emergency forage for livestock, and rehabilitating lands severely impacted by the drought. Together these efforts should provide nearly $30 million to producers struggling with drought conditions. Read more »
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, hosts a live Twitter chat focused on the Department’s support of local and regional food systems and the recent release of the 2.0 version of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, in Washington, D.C.
When we first launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass in February, we knew you would use this digital record to explore USDA’s work on local and regional food. And you have. Read more »
In every state, people are connecting directly with their food each time they bite into a local apple, grill a local steak or create a salad with local ingredients. Local food is about the products that farmers and ranchers grow and raise. It’s about the businesses that bring food from farms to our tables, and efforts to connect consumers with producers like farm to school and agritourism. And it’s about the sense of pride behind campaigns like “Buy Fresh, Buy Local,” “Appalachian Grown,” or “Idaho Preferred” that let consumers know their food dollar is flowing back into their local economy. Women play a prominent role in developing local and regional food systems that are creating jobs, pulling new people into agriculture, connecting communities, and improving health.
On Tuesday, July 17th at 3:00pm EDT, Jon Carson, White House Director of Public Engagement, and I will join inspiring women leaders in the field of local foods through a Google+ Hangout to hear their stories and answer your questions. It’s also a chance to see more stories like theirs when we unveil the 2.0 version of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. An innovative digital guide and map, the KYF Compass highlights USDA-supported local food projects around the country. The 2.0 version features thousands of local food projects in all 50 states and includes keyword and zip code search features. Read more »
At 11:00 am today, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, will be helping open the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, hosting visitors from around the world who will come to the Mall in Washington, D.C. for this annual event. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the only federal agency lucky enough to be located right on the Mall, and this year we’re also honored to be a part of the Folklife Festival, celebrating our 150-year partnership with the Land Grant University system. “Campus and Community: Public and Land Grant Universities and USDA at 150” is one of the three themes highlighted at the Festival this year.
USDA scientists, agricultural experts and speakers will be partnering with representatives from 29 Land Grant Universities (LGUs) to showcase all the great work we do together to support agricultural production, education and rural communities across America. USDA works hand-in-hand with Land Grant and public universities to put research into action locally, regionally and globally. Read more »