Living a Locally Supported Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition and Health’

Americans Eating More Veggies, Want Veggies For All!

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The W.H.Kellogg Foundation recently did a survey and found that a huge majority of Americans (about 90%!) think that equal access to fresh vegetables for Americans is important. Another majority believes that American SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) should be doubled at farmers markets. Your $1 food stamp at the corner bodega would be worth $2 at the city farmers market. That’s a huge push to get underprivileged Americans to eat fresh and healthy – something that many have argued is unaffordable when you’re living close to or below the poverty line.

Other great news to come out of this survey is that 70% of those surveyed said they had bought fresh produce from a farmers’ market or stand in the past year, and almost 70% said they ate more whole grains, fruits and vegetables than they did five years ago. Although obesity is a huge epidemic in America, this could signal that people recognize the need to solve the problem.

While this was a small survey (800 people), it shows positive changes in Americans views of the importance of fresh and local for for all Americans, which if you ask us, can only signal good things to come.

View a great infograph showing more results from the study (we love a good infograph!).

-Jess

Starting Locavores Off Young

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

An Iowa daycare is starting off kids on the right foot. Charlie Brown Daycare Centers in Mason City and Clear Lake, Iowa are partnering with with local garden One Step at a Time Gardens to provide fresh local produce to tots. The caregivers smartly see that by providing locally grown produce to the kids, they’re introducing them to fresh foods and make it a learning experience.

“What colors they are, what shapes they are, the different tastes they are, have they eaten them at home and maybe they can go home and tell their parents they like this maybe we can eat it at home too,” said Kathy Brierly, food service manager.

It also helps keeps adapt to change and learn to diversify their tastes as the type of vegetables they receive depends on what’s currently ready for harvest.

Bravo, Charlie Brown Daycare! You are leading by a great example that other daycares and other learning institutions should follow!

Check out the local news report to find out more.

-Jess

Passover and Local Foods

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

I just wanted to share this piece by Milly Dawson, advocating consumption of local foods for Passover seders. While her piece is somewhat specific to Florida, and obviously specific to Judaism, I thought it another interesting jump-off point for a discussion on the varied opportunities to incorporate the eat-local philosophy into our religious observations or family traditions. In what way to you incorporate local foods into longstanding customs or rituals?

Local Food This Passover?

-Karen

 

 

 

Lunch Line Film Viewing in Charlottesville

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Central Virginians, here’s a chance to watch Lunch Line, a documentary about the history of the school lunch program. (It also covers ideas for potential improvements.) It will be screened at the MLK Performing Arts Center at CHS on March 25th at 7:00 PM. Check it out!

Lunch Line film viewing at MLK at CHS in C'ville March 25th

Lunch Line Film Viewing at MLK Performing Arts Center at CHS March 25th

-Karen

 

Okay. Walmart Claims It’s Going Healthy. So What?

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

This big announcement this week in the world of health, business, and well, sadly, all of America (remember Walmart is EVERYWHERE), is that Walmart, the “Low Price Leader”, is pledging to make their products healthier (by lowering sodium and added sugar, getting rid of trans fat, etc) and to lower the prices of healthy fruits and veggies. Is this good news? Is this for real?

Well first off, it’s a five year plan so we will see, if this really happens. It’s certainly not happening overnight. And making healthy foods more affordable to lower income consumers is definitely a good thing. Getting unhealthy foods out of site and reach ain’t bad either.

So this definitely sounds like a plus for consumers, but what does this mean for local farmers? Walmart has also pledged to buy more local fruits and veggies, making another long-term pledge to increase their local suppliers. If Walmart is planning on cutting the price to consumers, will they cut already struggling farmers’ profits? According to Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president for corporate affairs, “This is not about asking the farmers to accept less for their crops.” Wal-Mart plans to cut into its own profits, hoping to make up for the cuts in sales volume. Hmmm. This could be a win, win.

Another interesting reason NYTimes cites as the reason Walmart is taking five years to do this? To wean consumers off their high-sodium, high fat, overall gross, food tastes. Americans love junk food, so hopefully having the biggest seller of grocers in the US working to make their products healthier will help America healthier. Fingers crossed.

So who is this bad news for? Unfortunately, this could be bad news for your mom and pop grocer. I don’t think farmers markets are really going to suffer. You can’t beat that just picked taste you get from farmers markets. That’s something farmers market patrons really value and that Walmart will never be able to duplicate. Sorry, Wally. But your local grocer is another story. While many do offer fresher produce, it’s generally pricier, and Walmart’s lower prices on ideally local foods is going to be very tempting. Hopefully those who frequent these shops will continue too, no matter what Walmart dangles in their faces.

Read the whole scoop from the NYTimes here and let us know what you think the outcome will be.

-Jess

Bottled Water – NOT Making the Grade

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

You fail

Bottled Water,

I hope you’ve been studying because you’re being tested. The Environmental Working Group (aka the EWG) has been putting bottled water brands across the US to the test, judging them on transparency, i.e. what secrets are they keep from you. Yes, there are secrets in that clear, refreshing liquid, and it ain’t just in the plastic of the bottle. They asked 3 main, elementary questions:

  • Where does the water come from?
  • Is it purified? How?
  • Have tests found any contaminants?

Sadly, they found that NINE of the top ten selling bottled water brands (Pepsi’s Aquafina, Coca-Cola’s Dasani, Crystal Geyser and six of seven Nestlé brands) are not answering at least one of these questions. Overall, of the 173 brands EWC tested, they found that  18 percent of bottled waters fail to list the source, and 32 percent disclose nothing about the treatment or purity of the water. Pretty shocking.

What’s more shocking is that bottled water can cost over 1,000 times more than tap water – EWC’s recommendation (and only A on the report card) for your water source – the cheapest solution, tap water. While the EPA says consumers have the right to have these 3 main questions answered by their bottled water companies (whether on the bottle or on their website), it’s not really happening. However, consumers CAN find out all these little tidbits about their local tap water on the EPA’s site.

Another shocker is champion of healthy, organic, and many times local, is that Whole Foods Italian Still Mineral Water got a big, fat F. Step up your game, Whole Foods!

So if you really want to know what you’re drinking (don’t we all!?) then either do your research or keep it local and from your faucet. Filter all you want – just drink local!

-Jess

A Trip to the Farmers Market a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Image via the New York Times

“Eat your veggies – it will make you grow big and strong.” We’ve all heard it, but doctors in Massachusetts are trying to make kids (and grown-ups) eat more veggies to keep them out of their offices. The New York Times reported not too long ago about doctors in Massachusetts giving coupons (or veggie “prescriptions”) to their patients that are good at farmers markets with the hopes of increasing their daily intake of fruits and veggies. This in turn will help fight childhood obesity, along with helping local farmers and other producers fight the fast food industry. And farmers markets are already coming out swinging – farmers’ markets are doing more than $1 billion in annual sales in the United States, according to the Agriculture Department.

A great program all around and it’s spreading – over 36 states now have farmers market programs in place aimed at women and children.  So listen to your doctor, for your health and the health of our economies.

-Jess

To Advertise or Not to Advertise, That is the Latest Obesity-related Question

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

I’m finding it increasingly difficult to come across food-related articles that present new information these days.  Though I love the added support for the local food movement through notice of the latest farmer’s market success or restaurant that grows ingredients upon its very own property, I’ve become slightly nonplussed by it all.  Local-food-movement information saturation, perhaps?  Yes, but not always.
An article by The New York Times in August presented the populace—if I may say so myself—with some entirely newfound facts.  For instance, did you know that there is a group named the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative that has been working for the past three years to lead big corporations away from targeting their not-so-healthy products to kids under the age of 12?  The Initiative argues that the likes of cocoa puffs and fruit loops, not to even begin mentioning Happy Meals, lead children into the world of smiley cartoon characters on packages before they know better than to say no to edible objects so diminished in nutrition that you could hardly even call them food anymore.  And, guess what?  So far, some of the big hitters have signed onto this idea.  Mars, Hershey’s, Coca-Cola, and Cadbury are among those that are now advertising to teenagers but no longer to those in their pre-adolescence.  To me, that makes sense.  And I’d love to hear more about it.
-Serena

The New York Times reports on how these fruity loopies are not as fun as they’re made out to be.

CFSC Educates, Inspires through National Conferences and More

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

If you follow Locallectual’s postings and have yet to read about the Community Food Security Coalition, then now is the time to be made aware of this non-profitable light.  CFSC is a Portland-based organization with staff all over the country; it works to bring food security to the United States and Canada through action-oriented education.

In May of this year, the coalition partnered with the National Farm to School Network as well as the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute to host the 5th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Detroit.  This three-day extraordinaire consisted of workshops, short courses, and field trips interspersed with receptions, speeches, and other social networking events.  As my first CFSC conference, Taking Root was a success.  I tasted platefuls of Michigan grown goods at the Local Foods opening night event, met farm to cafeteria activists from across the two countries, and learned more than I could take in about the growing, farm to fork movement.

If the Community Food Security Coalition and its activities sound enticing enough to you to get involved, now is the time to look into its 14th annual conference, to be held this October in New Orleans.  With a title like “Food, Culture, & Justice: The Gumbo That Unites Us All,” you’re sure to eat and absorb your mouth- and heart-ful of solid, local food-based information.  Or, just sign-up to be a member of CFSC today.  In this movement, every body counts.

-Serena

At the Local Foods Reception, attendees were served Michigan-centric dishes.

Whoever said Detroit was depressed needs to visit it once more.

The FDA Wants Your Advice

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

It is hard to know whether our advice is ever taken into account.  When an acquaintance asks for a restaurant recommendation, or a friend is in need of emotional assistance, do we ever really know if that person enacts our words of wisdom?  Not really, no.  But, do we tell those individuals that we’d rather not say anything to them because of it?  Of course not.  So should be the modus operandi with the FDA’s recent request for ideas on how America can keep its fresh foods safe.  Awhile back, the organization announced its desire for public feedback on the subject.  Why not participate?  After all, it may just pay attention and America might become better because of it.  To submit something, follow http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#home and type in FDA-2010-N-0085 as the keyword.
-Serena