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Shannon Baldwin

Articles by Shannon Baldwin

Dignowity Hill Farmers’ Market

Farmers’ markets are a great place to find fresh fruits and vegetables when your local grocery store doesn’t sell them. But when your neighborhood doesn’t have a farmers’ market OR a local grocery store with fresh fruits and vegetables—are you just out of luck? Find out how a Latina school teacher-turned healthy food activist was inspired by her friend to start a farmers’ market in her neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas, so neighbors could not only have better access to fresh fruits and vegetables, but learn how to cook tasty dishes that make healthy eating a delicious way of life. EMERGENCE Awareness: As a computer teacher at an elementary school in inner-city San Antonio, TX, Michelle Griego watches kids choose chips over carrots daily. San Antonio sits within ...

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New USDA Grants will Fund Healthier School Meals

Creating healthy school meals can be costly, but the federal government wants to help struggling schools offer healthy options that leave students feeling energized and ready to learn. This week, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce new USDA grants to fund new school kitchen equipment to help schools serve healthy meals for students. As part of the announcement, the Secretary will join local leaders, parents and teachers at Rayburn Elementary in San Antonio, Texas to serve breakfast to students in celebration of National School Breakfast Week. The Secretary will also discuss the findings of a new study showing the impact skipping breakfast has on a child's ability to learn. Read more about the new grants and the Secretary's visit to San Antonio ...

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University of Houston Students Want to Start a “Campus Kitchen” to Serve Nutritious Food to Families

There are many different ways to help families in need gain access to healthy, affordable foods. A group of University of Houston students wants to start a "Campus Kitchen" to recycle leftover food from campus restaurants for families in need in the nearby underserved Third Ward. The students are competing for a $5,000 grant from the "Campus Kitchens Project." Food is left over every day at the dining halls at numerous restaurants across the university. The students want to take that food and recycle it into new meals for residents in need. They also want to include an educational component, like partnering with other local food recovery organizations and holding nutrition education workshops for students as well as Third Ward residents. The University of Houston would be the ...

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Federal Farm to School Bills Introduced

In an effort to expand production and consumption of locally-grown foods in schools, lawmakers recently introduced new legislation that would enhance USDA's Farm to School program. The USDA awards up to $5 million annually in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm-to-school programs. The bills, introduced by Sens. Patrick Leahy and Thad Cochran and Reps. Jeff Fortenberry and Marcia Fudge, would increase funding for USDA's Farm to School program to $15 million per year. Supporters hope to include the language in the upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which is set to expire on Sept. 30. The bills would clarify that all school food programs ...

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Schools in Blount County Experiment with Growing their Lunch

healthier school snacks

Schools across the country are revamping their lunch menus to better reflect the updated federal nutrition standards. Some schools are going above and beyond the standards and making huge strides to serve healthy, delicious food to students. In Blount County, Tennessee, schools are experimenting with growing their own fresh produce for school lunch. Agriculture teacher Mike Whitehead’s classes piloted the program last year at William Blount High School and William Blount Ninth Grade Academy. Since the program started, the cafeteria has gradually increased its produce orders to meet student demand, said manager Yvonne Buchanan in a news article. Currently, students grow fresh produce for six cafeterias: Mary Blount Elementary School, Friendsville Elementary School, Union Grove ...

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HEAL Act Would Raise Funds for Healthy Living Activities With Soda Tax in Illinois

Although a similar bill did not pass the state legislator last year, Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter and Rep. Robyn Gabel introduced the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Act to provide tools and resources for Illinois families to live healthier lives. The bill is would generate more than $600 million a year for investment in communities across the state through a small tax on sugary drink distributors and is supported by the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity. "This is an important piece of legislation for the health of Illinois communities, especially those most devastated by sky-high rates of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease," Sen. Hunter said in a press release. "African Americans have the highest heart disease mortality rates in the state and ...

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Poll Shows Voters in North Carolina Support Bringing Healthier Food into Corner Stores

When neighborhood grocery stores begin selling healthy food, Latino families tend to buy them. While studies show these efforts work, do they have the support of the community? The North Carolina Alliance for Health released the poll results this week that found a majority of voters in North Carolina would support efforts to put more healthy food into neighborhood grocery stores. The poll, funded by the American Heart Association, showed that 70 percent of registered voters in the state support the effort to encourage neighborhood stores to stock healthy foods. A similar majority supported the idea that state and local governments should provide training and incentives to store owners. According to an article in the Winston-Salem Journal, North Carolina already has a Healthy ...

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Nevada Eliminates Junk Food Marketing in Schools

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Smart Snacks Nutrition Standards went into effect at the beginning of this school year, requiring foods and drinks sold in school vending machines and a la carte lines to be healthier. According to a VOICES for Healthy Kids report, the state of Nevada went above and beyond the federal standards and passed a policy ensuring that not only all items sold to Nevada students in school during the school day meet the federal nutrition standard, but also all marketing in the schools must also be consistent with the standard. That means no posters, coupons or fundraising efforts promoting unhealthy beverages, candy, or high-fat pizza can appear in the schools. The new policy is designed to allow schools and school districts to go even further if they ...

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Campaign Urges San Antonio Residents to “Veg Out”

Science backs up your mom’s old adage: “Eat your fruits and vegetables if you want to be healthy and strong!” Unfortunately, this message is often lost or unheeded, buried beneath junk food ads relentlessly targeting kids, especially Latinos. Leaders in San Antonio, Texas decided to combat the city’s troubling obesity rate with a campaign designed to get kids (and their parents!) to eat more fruits and veggies. The “Veg Out” campaign, backed by science and a diverse coalition of public health, school, city, and other officials, aims to have a lasting impact on the health of families in San Antonio. EMERGENCE Awareness: San Antonio is a unique, mostly Latino city known for its rich culture and traditions. However, some cultural traditions, like the consumption of ...

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