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USDA Announces Additional Support to Help Schools Buy Local

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced grants for 71 projects spanning 42 states and the District of Columbia that support the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to connect school cafeterias with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School program.

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USDA Celebrates National Farm to School Month

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted important strides made in offering healthy, local food to millions of school children through USDA's Farm to School program, and emphasized the program's role in creating economic opportunity for America's farmers and ranchers. According to USDA's first-ever Farm to School Census, in school year 2011-2012, schools participating in farm to school activities purchased and served over $350 million in local food, with more than half of participating schools planning to purchase even more local foods in future school years.

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USDA Releases New Report on Trafficking and Announces Additional Measures to Improve Integrity in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon today released a report that examines the trafficking rate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and better pinpoints where the vast majority of SNAP trafficking occurs—smaller stores that typically offer minimal access to the healthier foods encouraged by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin gathering public input on establishing stricter “depth of stock” requirements for SNAP retailers in order to discourage bad actors from entering and abusing the program. This move also supports USDA’s continuing efforts to improve SNAP recipients’ access to healthy foods.

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USDA Study Shows SNAP Participation Leads to Improved Food Security

Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program leads to improved food security, particularly among low-income children, according to the findings of Measuring the Effect of SNAP Participation on Food Security released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.

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USDA Tests New Methods to Ensure Children Have Access to Healthy Food during the Summer Months

An Agriculture Department evaluation released today examines the impact of a new alternative delivery method for providing low income children with access to food during the summer months when school meals are not available. As part of its ongoing commitment to improving access to healthy food for low income children, USDA has set a goal of serving 5 million more meals to eligible children this summer.  Following a directive from Congress, USDA has also conducted a series of projects examining methods to better serve low income children, particularly those living in remote areas or areas otherwise underserved by USDA’s summer meals programs.

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New Research Shows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Supports Healthy Diet Choices among Participants

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program increases the likelihood that recipients will eat whole fruit, and leads to a modest decrease in the consumption of dark green and orange vegetables. Overall, the diets of participants and low-income non-participants are similar, according to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Leads to Modest Changes in Diet Qualitya report released today by USDA’s Economic Research Service.

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Agriculture Secretary Visits San Diego Summer Meals Site; Calls on Communities to Help Ensure Children Have Access to Healthy Food Year Round

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted the problem of increased childhood hunger during months when school is not in session. At an event at Colina Del Sol Recreation Center, he called on communities across the country to partner with USDA's Summer Food Service Program to ensure that no child goes hungry when school is out. Vilsack reiterated the vital role of partners in reaching eligible children and their families and challenged them to help USDA serve 5 million more meals this summer.

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USDA Calls on Communities to Help Fill the Summer Meal Gap; Ensure Children Have Access to Healthy Food Year Round

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today called on communities across the country to partner with USDA's summer meals program to ensure that no child goes hungry when school is out. During a roundtable with Josh Wachs, Chief Strategy Officer for Share Our Strength, Kathy Underhill, Executive Director of Hunger Free Colorado, and Harriett Phillips, Liaison to the Arkansas No Kid Hungry Campaign for Governor Mike Beebe. Vilsack reiterated the vital role of partners in reaching eligible children and their families and challenged them to help USDA serve 5 million more meals this summer.

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USDA Partners with More States to Boost Program Integrity; Protect Taxpayer Investment

Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon today announced Washington and Ohio have joined a new federal-state partnership targeting recipient fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as part of its SNAP Stewardship Solutions Project. Under the partnership, USDA shares its experience in monitoring retailer fraud with states to help them more aggressively target suspicious activity and improve tactics to catch recipients that attempt to commit SNAP fraud. Today’s announcement involves the signing of data-sharing agreements between USDA and the states of Washington and Ohio, similar to the first-ever data-sharing agreements USDA signed with Maryland and Virginia earlier this month.

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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Outlines USDA Efforts to Raise a Healthier Generation of Americans; Highlights Efforts to Increase Access to Affordable and Healthy Food

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today discussed USDA efforts to improve access to healthy foods, and outlined the need for a renewed commitment to improve childhood nutrition, which includes empowering parents to provide healthy meals for their families. In remarks at a Hy-Vee, Inc. grocery store, Secretary Vilsack noted that increasing access to healthy foods is one of USDA's top priorities.

The Communications Division coordinates public and media communications for the USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services mission area. For media inquiries, please contact FNSpress@usda.gov or 703-305-2281.