Tag Archives: USDA

From Other Blogs: Avoiding foodborne illnesses, norovirus, protecting the Earth’s ‘Thin Skin’ & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Don’t Get Roasted by Foodborne Illnesses this Winter

The holidays are all about sharing, having fun and, of course…food!!! I bet you will agree that a good holiday get-together always includes delicious traditional dishes or special recipes.

If you are hosting a holiday party this winter, you have probably already started thinking about treating your guests to a delectable menu. There are endless recipes and traditional holiday dishes that will reappear or make a debut at your dinner table; however, foodborne illnesses should not be part of the feast. While food is something to look forward to this season, foodborne illnesses is not. — From the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

Norovirus Illness is Messy – Clean Up Right Away

When norovirus strikes in your own home, you can be prepared by having the supplies you need to immediately clean up after a loved one vomits or has diarrhea.

Norovirus is a tiny germ that spreads quickly and easily. It causes vomiting and diarrhea that come on suddenly. A very small amount of norovirus can make you sick. The number of virus particles that fit on the head of a pin is enough to infect over 1,000 people. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Public Health Matters blog

Protecting the Earth’s ‘Thin Skin’

Though remarkably thin, soil makes up a layer of the Earth’s crust that’s vital to human survival. The soil is a living, breathing thing that, like the body’s skin, requires care and attention lest we lose its many benefits. — From the USDA blog

Farmers Keeping Nutrients on the Field, Out of Streams

Clean water is a priority for all of us. When farmers manage nutrients, they are also helping to minimize the runoff of nutrients into local streams and rivers.

Farmers rely on two major nutrients in fertilizer — nitrogen and phosphorus — to help crops grow. When excess fertilizer leaves the field and enters local waterways in surface water runoff, those nutrients cause algae in the water to bloom much faster than it would under normal conditions. The algae eventually breaks down, and the bacteria involved in decomposition deplete oxygen in the water to unhealthily low levels. Ultimately, fish and other aquatic organisms often die as a result of this oxygen depletion. This process is called eutrophication. — From the USDA blog

From Other Blogs: Preparedness and response workforce training, conservation easements, epilepsy

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Building the Future Preparedness and Response Workforce

When I think about public health preparedness and response I ask myself three questions: Who provides the infrastructure to train public health responders? Where do they learn what they know? Who helps a responder fulfill their mission? The answers to these questions may rest in the TRAIN Learning Network (TRAIN). — From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s  (CDC) “Public Health Matters Blog”

Landowners in Deep South Protect 700,000 Acres of Wetlands with USDA Help

Private landowners in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana have protected 700,000 acres of critical wetlands in the past 25 years, which accounts for one-third of all wetlands under USDA conservation easements in the country. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and several conservation partners recently celebrated this milestone by visiting one of the landowners who used a conservation easement to restore and permanently protect the wetland. — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Blog

Loving Someone With Epilepsy

When Zayan first told me that he has epilepsy, I didn’t believe him.  “You mean seizures, right?”  I was embarrassed at how much I didn’t know. Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that triggers recurrent seizures. It can be caused by different conditions that affect a person’s brain. —  From the CDC’s “Public Health Matters Blog”

From Other Blogs: Breast cancer, your medicine cabinet, Farm to School Month and more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Tackling Breast Cancer: The Right Treatment for the Right Woman at the Right Time

“As I talked to a patient of mine about how breast cancer took her sister’s life at the age of 42, I was reminded of how challenging it is to explain how breast cancer is a different disease in every woman. The key is getting the right treatment for the right woman at the right time.” —  From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “The Topic Is Cancer Blog”

Preparing Your Medicine Cabinet for an Emergency: A Checklist

If you read our blog on a regular basis you can probably recite the mantra “Make a kit. Have a plan. Be informed.” in your sleep. You are probably familiar with the important items you should keep in your emergency kit – water, food, a flashlight, and a battery-powered radio. — From CDC’s “Public Health Matters Blog”

Protecting Kids from Environmental Exposure

Children’s rapid development from before they are born through early childhood makes them more vulnerable to environmental exposures. Contact the nearest Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) to learn how to protect your child from exposure to health hazards in the environment. — From CDC’s “Your Health – Your Environment Blog”

Five Reasons Why You Should Celebrate Farm to School Month

October is a busy month for both our nation’s farms and our nation’s schools. Farmers are harvesting everything from apples to pumpkins, while schools are celebrating Farm to School Month by raising awareness of the connection with fresh, healthy food and local food producers. — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Blog

Don’t Let Food Poisoning Sideline Your Tailgating Party

Fall is a great time to get outdoors — the weather is mild, and there are so many great activities to choose from: picnics in the park, hiking, apple picking and every sports fan’s favorite — tailgating. But even the most devoted fan could be sidelined with foodborne illness if they’re not careful with food preparation and storage. When planning your tailgate or other outdoor activity this fall, follow these food safety tips…  —  From the USDA Blog

SC Plants The Seed: A Marriage Between Nutrition And Literacy

Plant the right seed and good things will grow. That’s the goal of SC Plants the Seed,  multi-component, library based intervention program that was developed to improve nutrition access and literacy, among low-income families.

Program driven by partnership

SC Plants the Seed is a partnership between DHEC (SNAP-Ed), the SC State Library, and the SC Department of Social Services.  The program currently integrates activities within four components: nutrition education, increasing access of fresh produce, USDA Summer Food Service Program, and literacy.

A summer of nutrition and reading

Once a month at the Bishopville and Pelion libraries and weekly at the Orangeburg Library, local farmers were invited to set up a farm-stand to give patrons the opportunity to purchase local farm fresh produce.  One of the goals was promoting the Healthy Bucks Program, the SCDSS farmers market incentive.  The program also set out to make it more accessible for SNAP, WIC, and Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) participants to redeem their vouchers.  Persons on SNAP could spend $5 in EBT and receive an additional $10, which only can be used with a local authorized farmer.FreshFruitVeggies

Not only did patrons have the opportunity to purchase produce but the SNAP-Ed program conducted food demonstrations and provided recipe samples prepared with the farmer’s local produce. They were also able to learn and ask about how to select, prepare, and store produce and find out what is in season.

At each event, every child received a free book, by a grant provided by the State Library, and there were arts and crafts activities. The Lee County Library in Bishopville served free meals at each event for children under 18 years of age through the USDA Summer Food Service program.

The farms and libraries that participated

The local farms that participated in the program were Martin Farms of North, SC; Rogers Vegetable Farm of Sumter, SC; and Beason Farms of Pelion, SC.  The host libraries for the summer of 2017 were Lee County Library in Bishopville, Orangeburg County Public Library-Main branch, and the Lexington County Library-Pelion Branch. The program was implemented in conjunction with each library’s summer reading programs.

SC Plants the Seed will return in the summer of 2018!

WIC Honors National Farmers Market Week

DHEC’s Division of WIC Services joined markets across the country to celebrate National Farmers Market Week during the week of August 6-12.

As demand for local food continues to grow, so too have the opportunities for America’s farmers to market fresh food directly to the consumer.

Markets benefit farmers and customers

According to statistics recently released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.

“Farmers markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but in forming healthy, prosperous food systems,” says Jen Cheek, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Farmers are teaching customers about agriculture and sharing recipes and new foods with their neighbors. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier.”

Providing access to fresh fruits and veggies

The WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is associated with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC. The WIC Program provides supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education at no cost to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding post-partum women, and to infants and children up to 5 years of age who are found to be at nutritional risk.

The WIC FMNP was established by Congress in 1992, to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC participants, and to expand the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers’ markets. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the program!

During summer months, select public health departments participate in the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. The SC WIC FMNP has 249 authorized farmers.  DHEC and the S.C. Department of Agriculture encourage you to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. WIC participants receive checks that may be used for fresh produce at approved local farmers markets and farm stands. Participants also learn how to choose, store, and prepare fresh produce by attending nutrition education classes.  WIC Farmers’ Market checks may be used to purchase SC-grown, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

New recipes and farmers markets

Ready to try some delicious new recipes for your farmers market fresh fruits and vegetables?

Searching for a South Carolina farmers market?  Click here.