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Shannon Baldwin

Articles by Shannon Baldwin

Lawmakers in North Carolina Brainstorm Food Access Solutions

Community groups, non-profits, and everyday citizens across the U.S. work towards getting fresh, healthy foods to families who don't have them near by. In North Carolina, one of 10 states with the highest food insecurity, state lawmakers are considering a legislative solution. A bill introduced last year by Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley initially sought incentives to encourage small grocery stores to open in food deserts. But, under the state’s current budget, funding for the bill was not possible, so it was changed to a study bill. After a few grocery stores closed in Holley’s district, fast food restaurants were left to fill the gaps. This inspired her to pursue legislation that would support healthier food options. “If we can support fast food restaurants, we can support a ...

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Pediatrician Challenges Families to Rethink Sugary Juices and Drinks

Growing up in Spain, Dr. Marta Katalenas ate home-cooked meals made with fresh ingredients.When she moved to the United States in 1984 to learn English and become a pediatrician, she saw a different way of life that included way more treats, especially sugary juices and drinks. As she began her practice, she said she saw a growing association between kids drinking too much sugar and being overweight. Dr. Katalenas decided that if she was going to help parents set their kids on a path of health, she needed to get the whole community involved in reducing sugary drink consumption—so she made reducing sugary drinks part of her new monthly health challenge for families. EMERGENCE Awareness: Spain native Dr. Marta Katalenas, who moved to the U.S. in 1984 and became a board-certified ...

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USDA Boosts Summer Meals for Kids

When school's out and summer vacation hits, many students who rely on free or reduced price lunches at school are left without proper daily nutrition. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s summer meals programs, including the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program's Seamless Summer Option, ensure that low-income children who rely on school meals can receive the nutritious food they need during the summer months so they are healthy and ready to learn when they return to school in the fall. But the number of kids who participate in these programs is small, especially in certain states. For example, in Illinois nearly 800,000 kids receive free or reduced price lunch in school, but only 11 percent of eligible Illinois children ...

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Where in the U.S. Can You Walk to the Grocery Store?

Many people across the U.S., including Latino families, live in food deserts, low-income areas where the nearest grocery store is more than a mile away. This can limit what families in these areas eat, especially when low-cost, unhealthy fast food is closer to home than the supermarket. The data-collecting website Walk Score helps people make more informed decisions about where to live, like finding an apartment within walking distance of everyday errands and close to public transportation. Recently, they've announced a new ranking of the best and worst U.S. cities for access to food based on their database of local places and their Travel Time API and ChoiceMaps technology. The question: What percent of a city's residents can walk to a grocery store from their home ...

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Toledo Partnership Plans to Bring Produce Kiosks To Stop and Go Stores

Many kids living in Toledo, Ohio visit local corner stores to grab a quick snack. Chips, candy, and soda are always available; fresh produce like apples and oranges, not as much. For some families, these corner stores are the closest food stores they have to their home, which makes eating healthy difficult. But big changes are coming to Toledo. Thanks to a collaboration by the YMCA, The United Way and the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, by the end of summer 2014, 23 kiosks offering fresh, fairly priced and locally grown produce will be set up in Stop and Go stores around the city. The hope is that people will go for the fresh produce, and side-step the sweets. Read more about the healthy plans in the ...

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Talks are On-Going in Winston-Salem to Address Food Access

  Winston-Salem, North Carolina has the most USDA-declared food deserts, low-income areas with poor access to full-service grocery stores, in all of Forsyth County. City officials have been trying for years to convince grocery store chain owners to move to these underserved neighborhoods, but with no luck. The state of North Carolina has been actively searching for solutions to get folks the healthy foods they need. On Monday March 24, 2014, the North Carolina state House Committee on Food Desert Zones met for a third time since February in an effort to study the problem and make recommendations on how to deal with it. Representatives from grassroots food co-operatives, food banks and mobile grocers, among other nutrition experts, spoke to the committee about their ...

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Olivares Food Market Goes the Extra Mile to Serve the Community

About five years ago, Clara Santos opened Olivares Food Market to serve the Philadelphia neighborhood in which she lived. Offering quick meals and grab-and-go snacks, her store was popular but had few healthy snacks. With some help from a food access organization, Santos learned that offering and promoting healthy food options is not only good for the health of her customers, but for business, too. EMERGENCE Awareness: Olivares Food Market, a Latino-oriented corner store in South Philadelphia, owned by Clara Santos, is a lot like other similar markets in Philadelphia and across the country. That is, it lacks healthy food options and has no marketing for the few it does have. Olivares sells prepared foods—like high-calorie cheesesteaks for lunch and pancakes for breakfast—and ...

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Denver Zoning Code Change Would Allow Neighbors to Sell Homegrown Produce From Their Front Porch

A proposed change in Denver, Colorado's zoning code would allow people to skip the grocery store and buy homegrown produce from their neighbors. This, some city council members say, could help folks who don't live close to grocery stores get access to healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. The amendment would allow residents to sell from their homes uncut fruits and vegetables, whole eggs, and home-prepared food products such as jellies, jams, honey, teas, herbs, spices and some baked goods. According to the proposed amendment, home-based vendors could post a small sign on their property, measuring no more than 100 square inches. Sales could take place from portable furniture such as folding tables, but not from permanent stands. Each home's sales would be limited to $5,000 a year ...

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Blueprint to Address Childhood Obesity Discussed in North Carolina

On Wednesday March 19, 2014, members of a statewide task force that had been studying the rise in childhood obesity in North Carolina came together with other heath care professionals, policy and public health experts, child care providers and parents to go over the task force’s final report, which includes detailed recommendations for how to tackle the problem. The summit was the first public opportunity to discuss the 169-page “Promoting Healthy Weight for Young Children: A Blueprint for Preventing Early Childhood Obesity in North Carolina.” The blueprint was the culmination of two years of work by the N.C. Institute of Medicine’s Task Force on Early Childhood Obesity. It was created in collaboration with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation and the ...

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