It was 150 years ago today – May 15, 1862 – that President Abraham Lincoln signed off on legislation creating the United States Department of Agriculture.
While you might think of the USDA as nothing more than a stamp on your certified beef cheeks – they are actually the agency responsible for your nutritional well-being. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) arm of the USDA is tasked with administration of our nation’s nutrition assistance and education programs.
In an era of bad news about obesity and expanding waist-lines, here’s a short list of the nutrition milestones and accomplishments that the USDA is responsible for:
- Promoted canning and Victory Gardens that fed Americans during two World Wars
- Feeds over 30 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program each school day
- Provides nutritious food for over 9 million women, infant and child participants in the WIC program each year
- Teaches consumers about food safety with their unique Ask Karen web-based tool
- Encourages Americans to make half their plate full of fruits and vegetables at www.choosemyplate.gov
To learn more about the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service nutrition assistance programs, visit their website here.