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Shannon Baldwin

Articles by Shannon Baldwin

News Farmers’ Market in Houston Brings Fresh Produce and Community

Houston's East End is a histrionically Latino area that is trying to find its place among Houston's growing young, urban population. A new farmers' market hopes to bridge the gap between long-time residents and their new neighbors. The East End Farmers' Market stretches along a two-block length of the Navigation Boulevard esplanade and will be open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. One main feature of the market: fresh, affordable produce. A "veggie-mobile" run by Sown & Grown, an urban micro farm, will stock surplus produce and seedlings from the farm and sell with a "pay what you can afford" system. Rebecca Verm, owner of Sown & Grown, said this is all part of her effort to get fresh produce into a "good home" and to show residents of an area often described ...

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California’s Central Coast Surveys Residents About Sugary Drink Consumption

In Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, 57 percent of adults and teens are overweight or obese; in San Benito County, the number is even more alarming at 70 percent, according to the Monterey County Health Department. As part of their response to the epidemic, the Nutritional and Fitness Collaborative of the Central Coast (NFCCC), a collection of more than 50 organizations dedicated to improving the health of their communities, set out to understand sugary drink consumption on the Central Coast.  The findings of their research were released this month at a press conference at the Monterey County Health Department. A few survey highlights include: The consumption of sugary drinks was higher than water consumption. On average, for every glass of water consumed, 1.3 glasses of ...

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Child and Adult Care Food Program 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating the meal patterns and nutrition guidelines for child care facilities that participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Right now, regular folks can comment on the guidelines before they undergo the final writing process. This comment period provides a unique chance to help improve nutrition for little children, including by increasing whole grains, reducing juice, eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages from child care facilities, and not allowing cookies and other grain-based desserts to count as the grain component in meals and snacks. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has drafted an email that outlines specifics they believe would make the food program healthier for children. CSPI urges parents, ...

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Non-Profit & City Officials Team-up to Help Corner Stores Offer Fresh Produce

On April 1st, an expansion of Minneapolis' staple food ordinance went into effect, requiring food stores to carry a minimum quantity of certain foods, including healthy foods. This ordinance has to potential to increase healthy food access in many communities, but some smaller store owners might need some extra help.  Appetite for Change, a non-profit that uses food to create social change, is working with the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support on its effort to get more produce into the city's corner stores. Leaders from both Appetite for Change and the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support spoke with a local news station about exactly how they hope to make corner stores in the city places that carry healthy, delicious food. Listen to the news ...

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Veggie Van Brings Affordable, Fresh Food to Communities in Michigan

What's one solution to poor access to healthy and affordable foods? Many communities are turning to mobile farmers' markets. In urban Michigan neighborhoods throughout Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Ottawa County, a Veggie Van run by the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids is bringing fresh produce to families---and at affordable prices. Because the Veggie Van is a non-profit organization, it is able to sell fruits and vegetables at wholesale prices, giving the community a cheaper option for fresh produce. The Veggie Van travels to retirement homes, human services offices and neighborhoods. Learn more about the Veggie Van here. Read about the Veggie Van in the ...

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Food Environment Assessment Hopes to Bring Healthier Food into a Kentucky County

Kenton County Plan4Health has received a $135,000 grant from the American Planning Association to map the area's full-line grocery stores, locate neighborhoods with limited access to healthy foods and increase the supply of fresh produce for residents in need. According to a news article on Cincinnati.com, Kenton County suffers from an overall "food insecurity" rate of 13.9 percent, with 18.4 percent for children. Kenton County Plan4Health was officially created in December, with OKI Regional Council of Governments, the Planning and Development Services of Kenton County, Northern Kentucky Health Department and Center for Great Neighborhoods partnering Emi Randall, OKI senior planner, said in the news article that a mapping study will help identify neighborhoods in the county that ...

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A Fresh Food Station Lands in Fairfax County, Va.

In the 22% Latino Fairfax County Public School District in Fairfax, Va., a parent group called Real Food for Kids had rid school cafeterias of highly processed junk foods and improved the nutrition of school snacks and menus. But the change was not very visible to students. So the group, led by parent JoAnne Hammermaster, helped bring a fresh food stations showcase the healthier selections—and add new ones—for students at district schools. EMERGENCE Awareness: Childhood obesity is a priority for the parent group Real Food for Kids (RFFK), which pushes for healthy changes in the Fairfax County Public School District (FCPSD), a 22% Latino district in Fairfax, Va. In 2012, for example, RFFK drove FCPSD leaders to remove foods with artificial dyes, additives, and other highly ...

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New York City Adopts New Rules for Day Care Centers Limiting Juice & Screen Time

The New York City Board of Health has adopted new rules for licensed day care facilities aimed at preventing obesity among young children. Under the rules, 100 percent fruit juice will only be served to children who are at least two years old, with a limit of four ounces of juice per day. The rules also reduce children's “sedentary” time to less than 30 minutes per day, down from the current 60 minutes standard, to encourage more physical activity. The changes cover approximately 2,300 day care centers serving nearly 135,000 children. Check out the new, healthy rules ...

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Jamie Oliver Launches Petition for Compulsory Practical Food Education

Jamie Oliver, the British Celebrity Chef-turned school food activist, began hosting a worldwide Food Revolution Day a few years ago. He passionately believes that by educating children about food in a fun and engaging way, we can equip them with the basic skills they need to lead healthier, happier lives, for themselves and their future families. In celebration of this year's Food Revolution Day on May 15th, Oliver has launched a petition asking leaders and governments of all G20 countries to make practical food education a compulsory part of every school curriculum. On his website, Oliver argues that  with diet-related diseases rising at an alarming rate, it has never been more important to educate children about food, where it comes from and how it affects their bodies. Watch ...

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