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Food and Nutrition

By the Numbers: Spotlight on Farmers Market Week

August 6-12 is National Farmers Market Week, and the sunny days of summer make it a perfect time to drop by one of the more than 8,500 farmers markets across the country and load up for a picnic! While you put together your picnic shopping list, keep in mind that growers selling locally not only help increase access to fresh food, but they also create 13 full-time jobs for every $1 million in revenue earned.

USDA Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week, Awards Programs That Support WIC Moms

USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC, is once again celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7. This year’s theme is Sustaining Breastfeeding Together, emphasizing the importance of family and community support for breastfeeding women.

Check the Label and Bring it to the Table – USDA Grade Labels Explained

Summer heat, sizzling grills, and a night sky filled with fireworks - here comes Fourth of July! I really love this time of year. It’s another opportunity to grill up a feast to share with my family and friends. It is also a great time to share my knowledge about the USDA grade shields!

Celebrate National Dairy Month with Yogurt 5 Ways

June is an exciting month filled with picnics, cookouts, and outdoor time. Along with sun and fun, June also brings us National Dairy Month. Most Americans do not meet recommendations for the dairy food group, which includes milk and many of the foods made from milk, such as yogurt and cheese. Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) is also part of the dairy food group, as well as lactose-free and lower-lactose milk products. When choosing foods from this group, choose fat-free or low-fat options.

Celebrating Cultural Heritage with Mouthwatering Meals

Looking for recipes that are both flavorful and nutritious? Nutrition.gov has added new resources that can help you. The newly enhanced Nutrition.gov includes an Ethnic Cooking section on the Shopping, Cooking & Meal Planning page designed to fit the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Nutrition.gov collaborated with a range of government agencies to feature links to educational materials, videos, books and websites offering a wide array of healthy, culturally-based recipes.

Farm to School Grows with USDA Grants

Omar, the school garden club coordinator, instructs a group of seventh grade students to “pick an adult” and leads them to the greenhouse. The bright blue sky and expansive mountain range set a dramatic backdrop for the six raised beds and two greenhouses. Mona, a precocious 12 year-old student at Magdalena Middle School in New Mexico, wastes no time charging into the greenhouse and swiftly picking red leaf lettuce. She instructs me on proper harvest techniques while happily munching on Swiss chard, kale and lettuce straight from the garden – she clearly has no need for salad dressing.

Employment and Training Programs: Jobs and So Much More

Recently, I was privileged to visit Portland, Ore., and had yet another opportunity to appreciate why the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) Program is so important. SNAP E&T, which is available in all 50 states, is a skills and job training program designed to help SNAP participants prepare for and secure jobs that lead to economic self-sufficiency. Along with Oregon Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Administrator Belit Burke, I visited Central City Concern (CCC), an organization that partners with DHS to provide E&T services to those in need.

New Caribbean Climate Hub Video Teaches Kids About Agriculture

Sr. Sapo is a very popular figure among children in Puerto Rico and Latin America and he has a new healthy hobby, agriculture! The USDA Caribbean Climate Hub and the musical group Atención Atención Inc. partnered to produce a video focusing on how food is grown and its relationship with nature.

Open Data Revolution to Fight Global Hunger

Every day, people around the world use data to make decisions. When heading out of town, most of us use weather apps to check the forecast anywhere in the world before packing our bags. However, when we travel to far-flung places, we may find ourselves packing food from home because we don’t know what may be available when we arrive. We have a global, comprehensive, open data set that enables weather forecasting, but not something similar for food and agriculture?