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Shannon Baldwin

Articles by Shannon Baldwin

2015 New York Sugary Drink Warning Label Bill

A bill introduced last legislative session in New York that would have placed a warning label on sugary drinks may have fallen short, but another legislator is giving it second shot in 2015. New York Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has introduced the “Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act,” a bill that would require warning labels on all sugary drinks, like soda, iced tea and energy drinks.The labels would read: “SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.” Dinowitz cites the success of tabacco-style warning labels as one reason his bill is winner. “This is not a ban. It’s a warning label. I believe warning labels contributed to the decrease in smoking,” he said in an article in the New York ...

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School Bake Sales Get a Fruit and Veggie Facelift with the “UnBake Sale”

The bake sale is a classic school fundraiser, but the usual items fore sale like sugary cookies, cupcakes and other treats won't meet the new Smart Snacks in Schools guidelines set by the USDA in June 2014. However, schools shouldn't fear losing revenue from cancelled bake sales. Bolthouse Farms is redefining what a bake sale can be with their launch of the UnBake Sale. The UnBake Sale initiative provides schools all the tools to host a fundraising event featuring better-for-you fun and delicious snacks made of fruits and vegetables that meet the Smart Snacks in Schools guidelines. Parents, teachers and school administrators are encouraged to visit TheUnBakeSale.com and join the “100 School Pledge.” The first 100 schools to participate in the pledge will receive a starter kit ...

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Baltimore Mayor Proposes Tax Breaks for Grocery Stores that Open in Underserved Neighborhoods

It can be difficult to convince full-service grocery stores to break ground in low-income areas, but often these neighborhoods are the ones that need their services the most. Certain tax policies can encourage stores to build in these underserved areas, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is ready to make these policies a reality. She wants to give a tax break to supermarkets that locate in underserved Baltimore areas. This proposal, along with another tax-related proposal, is a key part of a package of bills Rawlings-Blake will ask the Maryland General Assembly to pass during the three-month session. The supermarket tax proposal would let the city grant a 10-year break on personal property taxes —for items such as freezers and cash registers — to grocers that locate ...

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How To: The Lunch Tray’s Guide to Getting Junk Food Out of Your Child’s Classroom

While some schools are trending towards healthier food during school time, some schools still hold on to copious birthday treats and junk food "rewards." As a parent, what can be done? Bettina Elias Siegel, the mom and healthy food advocate behind the popular blog The Lunch Tray, has released a new, free eBook that aims to help parents navigate different aspects of school food.  The Lunch Tray’s Guide to Getting Junk Food Out of Your Child’s Classroom addresses a wide variety of topics including: how wellness policies and the new federal “Smart Snacks” rules relate to classroom junk food; the tricky problem of birthday treats and how to respond to your opponents on that issue; the use of junk food as a classroom reward; the use of candy as a teaching ...

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New Mexico Farm-to-School Bill Would Put More Local Veggies on Kids’ Plates

Farm-to-school programs are cropping up across the country, giving kids the opportunity to have locally grown produce for lunch as well as meet real farmers and learn about food production. These programs, however beneficial, can be expensive to expand on a large scale and sometimes underfunded schools are left out. A bill currently up for consideration in the New Mexico state legislature would appropriate 1.44 million dollars for the expansion of the statewide farm to school program. Currently 60 schools and school districts across the state have purchased New Mexico-grown produce. This number has more than quadrupled since 2012, making a strong case for funds to expand the program. According to a brochure distributed by the New Mexico Food Policy Council, by purchasing New ...

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Latino Legislator Urges Colleagues to Participate in “Meatless Mondays”

U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas, who represents California's 29th Congressional District, is passionate about "Meatless Monday." An effort he and his staff first spearheaded last year, "Meatless Monday" is a global movement urging folks to forgo meat on Mondays in an effort to conserve the environment and also improve overall health. In early February, Rep. Cárdenas sent a "Dear Colleague" message to his fellow Representatives, urging them to join him and his staff in observing "Meatless Monday." According to an article in the Latin Post, the response has been positive. "Some of the nation's largest school districts, workplaces and public figures are signing up to start the week off by taking a day off from eating meat," Cárdenas said in the article. "Going meat-free means ...

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Tax Credits for Healthy Food Retailers in Florida

There are many ways to encourage food retailers to sell healthier items: setup new eye-catching displays, subsidize the cost of stocking fruits and vegetables or promote healthy dishes with take-home recipe cards. In Florida, one legislator hopes to encourage food retailers to stock  more fruits and veggies through tax incentives,  Sen. Dwight Bullard from Miami has introduced a bill that would offer tax credits to businesses that sell large amounts of healthy food in low-income areas without easy access to grocery stores. Businesses interested in the tax credits would have to meet certain criteria, including getting at least 20 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of certain types of healthy food, like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. The ...

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Fruit and Veggie Market Coming to a Transit Stop in Atlanta

We've seen city buses turned into veggie-mobiles, but what about bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to functioning transit stops? After a rider survey found that commuters were interested in better access to fresh and locally grown organic produce, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) begun brainstorming ways to bring fruit and vegetable vendors to Atlanta’s West End station by early spring. According to MARTA, many folks who use the transit system don't have easy access to healthy food where they live and no personal transportation to take them to big grocery stores. But the produce won't be just for passengers. Anyone, ticket or not, will be able to purchase goods from the new market. "We will be focused on ensuring that the vendors and farmers that we ...

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San Antonio Neighborhood Petitions for Farmers’ Market

Farmers' markets are a great way for families to purchase fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables, often grown nearby. But in many cities, some neighborhoods don't have a regular farmers' market nearby and they miss out on these fun community events. A neighborhood in San Antonio, TX, a predominantly Latino city, is hoping to get a farmers' market they can call their own. Residents of the Dignowity Hill neighborhood are rallying support for a Farmer's Market located in Dignowity Hill Park. According to an online petition, the market will have local vendors with fresh produce and goods. This will offer healthy and fresh food to the community at an affordable price and support local businesses at the same time. The main purpose of the petition, according to residents, is to get ...

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