Real Food For Kids, Fairfax Co. VA



Parent organization Real Food for Kids (RFFK) aims to improve the nutritional quality of food served at the public schools in Fairfax County, Va. These parents want all students to get healthy, fresh food that will fuel their bodies for physical and educational performance. As stated on their website: “We know, just as you do, that when a child is well-fed with nutritious, real food, he/she is healthier, better behaved and better able to succeed in and out of the classroom.” By doing research and educating themselves, they discovered the volume and breadth of processed foods and foods with artificial dyes and additives being served at their schools, even though these foods were allowed by USDA nutrition guidelines for school lunches. The parent group advocated for a new ...

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Neighbors in East Indianapolis Organize to Make Fresh, Healthy Food More Accessible



Three groups, Forest Manor Multi-Service Center, Community Alliance of the Far Eastside and United Northeast Community Development Corporation, have formed the Indy East Food Desert Coalition. They are determined to give their members on the east side of Indianapolis access to healthy, fresh food options. They have partnered with Butler University’s Urban Ecology Department to get some real data that they believe will help them more efficiently minimize the problem that has had real health impacts. Butler University will compile all the data from a questionnaire being distributed online and door to door. The hope is that some real, hard numbers will get the attention of government officials and foundations that can offer them a financial boost. They want to see out preliminary plans ...

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Maryvale Workshops Allow For Community Input on Ways to Prevent Childhood Obesity



Maryvale on the Move works to influence and bring about healthy changes to Maryvale and Canyon Corridor--two predominantly Latino neighborhoods in Phoenix. Residents from the Maryvale neighborhood of Phoenix met for a series of workshops to provide input as to what improvements needed to be made in their community. Some expressed concern over a lack of lighting and a need for more physical activity and less junk food in their neighborhoods. Residents also made recommendations like installing a roundabout to calm traffic and establishing Farmers' Markets. After meeting with groups of local residents from these neighborhoods, and community organizations, Maryvale on the Move identified four goals. The four goals are: (1) create community gardens; (2) increase availability of ...

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Minneapolis Schools Overhauling Menu and Lunch Offerings



Minneapolis schools are changing their food offerings to provide a healthier environment for students. They have hired three extra kitchen employees to create a new menu and offer more variety to students. New menu items include orange chicken, wheatberry salad, black bean burgers, and roasted red potatoes- instead of fries. The way the food is prepared is the biggest and greatest change being made in Minneapolis schools. Instead of using all prepared and packaged foods, they are making more food fresh in their kitchens. Previously they only heated up pre-made pizzas, but now they now make pizzas by hand with a variety toppings like roasted vegetables and pepperoni. In order to create a new menu, and keep up with the preparation and cooking, the district had to hire two new prep cooks ...

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Health Groups Ask Supermarkets and Pharmacies to Promote Healthier Drink Options



Supermarkets and pharmacies are well-positioned in their communities to encourage folks to make healthier food and drink choices. However, some stores continue to promote sugary drinks over healthier options, like water. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) along with other advocacy groups and health professionals are calling on store owners to rethink how they market sugary drinks and to consider giving no and low calorie drink options more prominent shelf space. Little decisions like placing a case of bottled water at the check out line instead of soda is a small but effective way for a store owner to promote better beverage choices in the community. CSPI and others have crafted letters to send to large supermarket and pharmacy stores urging them to consider making ...

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Making Farmers’ Markets Friendlier in Texas



Farmers' markets around the country have tougher rules and regulations than your average supermarket. While these rules are intended to protect customers from unsafe food, sometimes the rules limit what a farmer can sell and how they can sell it, making it harder on the farmer to make money and harder for the customer to get fresh, healthy produce. A Texas bill signed into law in June 2013 hopes to relax some of these rules. H.B. 1382, introduced by Rep. David Simpson (R- Longview) relaxes some existing regulations and fees making it easier for sellers at farmers’ markets to provide cooking demonstrations and food samples to patrons. More samples and cooking demos means more folks are able to learn how they can use fresh, healthy produce to enhance their family's ...

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Lakeview Students benefit from new Salad Bars



In early April 2013 Lakeview Community Schools added salad bars, called fruit and vegetable bars because of their various offerings, at not only their junior and senior high schools, but also at some of their elementary schools. These salad bars help increase the consumption of fruits and vegetable for young students. Without salad bars, students are only given a certain option for fruits and vegetables, resulting in many foods being wasted. Often times young students who do not like a food or cannot eat it due to lost teeth or lack of ability (example: young students often do not know how to peel oranges or other fruits that are prepped at homes by parents) will throw away foods, not getting any of the nutrients they need from those foods. "Fourth-grader Cassie Rathbone had applesauce ...

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Houston ISD Drafting New Wellness Policy



Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Texas is further addressing the growing issue of childhood obesity by creating a well rounded wellness policy. "The new Houston ISD wellness policy, currently being drafted by the School Health Advisory Council [SHAC], will directly address the use of food as a classroom reward (as well the equally distressing use of exercise as a punishment)." says Bettina Siegel, author of the blog The Lunch Tray The USDA has been increasing policies on school foods and competitive foods, by making nutrition standards for school meals in the past, and are currently creating standards for competitive foods in school snack lines. However schools or districts themselves must take the next steps in changing their policies on standards for fundraisers, ...

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Georgia Tackles Healthy Food Access



Georgia is no stranger to the connection between hunger and obesity. Many low-income residents live in areas that have no grocery store close by but boast a variety of fast food joints, and rates of childhood obesity in those areas are high. Following the lead of many states and cities nationwide, Georgia has created the Georgia Supermarket Access Task Force, led by The Food Trust and Voices for Georgia’s Children. The task force has been meeting with key stakeholders, such as grocers and those in public health and agriculture, to talk about ways to get stores with fresh, healthy produce back into these areas. Check out the task force's work here! One great success story in the area is the Veggie Truck Farmers' Market, a weekly produce truck that accepts nutrition assistance and ...

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