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Shannon Baldwin

Articles by Shannon Baldwin

Elementary School in Dallas Food Desert Plants a Garden

Volunteers have been spending some quality time playing in the dirt at John Quincy Adams Elementary School in Dallas. The school is installing a garden that will not only provide fresh fruits and vegetables but also educational opportunities. The school is located in East Dallas, which is considered a food desert, an area that lacks access to fresh and affordable food. More than 90% of the students at Adams Elementary qualify for free or reduced lunch. With $100,000 in backing from Wells Fargo, REAL School Gardens, a non-profit that creates learning gardens, has selected five schools in North Texas for garden training and education. It's hoped to be a long-term relationship. "We partner with the school for several years to train the teachers to actually use their garden as a ...

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New Community Garden Coming to Central El Paso

A new community garden is laying roots in El Paso, TX, a predominately Latino community. Now in mid-construction, the Arizona Avenue Community Garden is located in central El Paso. Volunteers have been busy cleaning the area and installing multiple raised beds. Applications for neighborhood residents to get a plot in the garden are available on the facebook ...

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Florida Considers Tax Credits for Stores Selling Healthy Food in Underserved Areas

Legislators in Florida are hoping to encourage grocery stores to offer healthy food items in areas where few exist by offering tax credits. Two bills have been introduced at the State level that would provide tax credits to qualified businesses that offer healthy food. The Senate version of the bill proposes a credit be equal to 20 percent of a business's annual sales. It would apply to new or existing businesses, including convenience stores. On March 2, the Senate bill won unanimous support in its first stop before the Agriculture Committee. No votes have taken place with the House bill, but it is currently before the Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee. Read more about the healthy food access legislation ...

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Healthier Default Drinks in Kids’ Meals in Maryland

Health advocates in Maryland are working hard to get healthier beverages into the hands of residents, especially children. Early this year, a bill was introduced that would remove the sales tax on bottled water. Another bill is hoping to make beverages healthier for kids at restaurants. This bill would require restaurants that offer children’s menus to serve only water, low-fat milk or 100% juice as part of the bundled kids’ meal price—though parents would still be able to choose another option if they’d prefer. According to a newsletter from Prevent Obesity, a poll from OpinionWorks shows that nearly 70 percent of Marylanders (and 75 percent of Maryland parents) support legislation that limits the types of default beverages offered with kids meals to only healthy ...

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Sugary Drink Advertisements could get Warning Labels in San Francisco

Local legislators in San Francisco have teamed-up to fight sugary drink advertisements, many of which unfairly target Latino kids. Legislation introduced by San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener would require all advertisements for sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages in San Francisco to have a health warning that reads "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco." The language harkens back to state Senator Bill Monning's labeling bill introduced in years past. A similar proposal by supervisor Malia Cohen would ban soda ads from publicly-owned property such as parks and bus stations and another piece of legislation from supervisor Eric Mar would prohibit city employees ...

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Burger King Removes Sodas from Kids’ Meals

Burger King has joined fellow fast-food restaurants McDonald's and Wendy's in ensuring kids' have healthy drink options. Burger King has agreed to remove sugary soda from its kids' meals and menus. Additionally, the company will not market soda as part of its kids’ meals at all.  All the changes have been made at headquarters, and individual franchises are in the process of making the switch. Burger King made the change, "as part of our ongoing effort to offer our guests options that match lifestyle needs," said Alex Macedo, president of Burger King North America, in an e-mailed statement to USA TODAY. Instead of soft drinks, the Burger King menu for kids will offer fat-free milk, 100% apple juice and low-fat chocolate milk. Health advocacy groups like CSPI and Mom'sRising ...

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3 New Studies on School Food Find Nutrition Standards Are Working

Food policy expert Marion Nestle highlights 3 new studies about school food that demonstrate the updated USDA school food guidelines are leading to healthier school meals. Check out her commentary and read about the original studies ...

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Latino Teen Hopes to Bring Aquaponic Garden to Santa Ana

In Santa Ana, California, green space is hard to come by. Enough space for a whole garden filled with fresh fruits and vegetables seems like just a dream. But one Santa Ana resident is teaming up with an environmental non-profit to bring a unique type of garden the urban city. 17 year-old Isaac Michaca has recruited the non-profit Get Motivated! to help plant a space-saving aquaponic garden in in his community. In an aquaponic garden, fish and plants grow together in vertical, soil-less gardens---perfect for an a place like Santa Ana. Latino Health Access, KidWorks, along with community members, have joined together to create a plan of action on how to fund-raise, create and execute the project. The goal is to allow the growth and distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables ...

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Junk Food Taxes Proposed in Connecticut, Latino Health a Driving Force

Law makers in Connecticut have been tossing around the idea of a soda tax for a few years, but nothing concrete has ever made it to the state capital. 2015, however, might be a difference story. Connecticut state Representative Juan Candelaria has introduced a bill that would impose a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks and also candy. Revenue from the tax would be directed to obesity prevention efforts, a state scholarship program, and local municipalities. If the bill makes it through the state congress, it will be up for Connecticut voters to decide if they want to use junk food taxes as one solution to diet-related disease. According to the Suffield Patch, Candelaria told the New Haven Independent that he got the idea for the tax at the National Council of Hispanic State ...

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