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Local Foods and Nutritious Diets: USDA’s 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum

Demand for local and regional foods is strong and growing, as consumers across the country are looking for healthy food options grown and raised in their own communities. USDA has long supported this effort along with the procurement of regional foods by schools and helping them increase food literacy among the nation’s children.

These efforts will be the topic of the “Showcasing Local Foods” session at USDA’s 2013 Agriculture Outlook Forum, February 21-22, where Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will moderate a panel of speakers to discuss how local foods can lead to more nutritious diets. Lela Reichart with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will discuss the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which focuses on nutrition knowledge and related topics. USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Deborah Kane will discuss the Farm to School Program that isbringing more locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables into school cafeterias.  Tom Coon, from Michigan State University, will discuss Cooperative Extension’s role in educational programs related to regional and local food systems.

Dr. Ramaswamy will also moderate a panel titled, “Promoting Nutritious Diets.” Daryl Buchholz, of Kansas State University, will explore the Cooperative Extension’s role in nutrition education for low-income families.  Joanne Kinsey, from Rutgers UniversityCooperative Extension, will discuss technology trends for 21st century nutrition and the use of social media tools to extend and enhance efforts in nutrition education. Debbe Thompson, from the Children’s Nutrition Center at Baylor College of Medicine, will discuss promoting healthy food and exercise choices in children and identify ways in which digital technology, such as video games, online programs and texting, can be used in novel ways to reach children and adolescents with health-enhancing messages promoting a nutritious diet.

Dorn Wenninger, Walmart’s Vice President for Produce and Floral, will discuss the company’s local and sustainable produce efforts during the Fruits and Vegetable Luncheon.

More information on these sessions and the rest of the program, can be found on the Outlook Forum’s website.

2 Responses to “Local Foods and Nutritious Diets: USDA’s 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum”

  1. Dianna Glenn says:

    Please, understand the school food you are pushing down our kid’s throats TASTE HORRIBLE!!! I love healthy garden fresh produce, but the vegetables are seriously lacking, there is a lack of good HOME COOKING taste and feel to the food. I have ate at school with the kids, the food quantity and quality is way under my standards, that is the reason kids eat the junk food!! After I leave school I have to go eat some more, the food is not filling or enjoyable even in the slightest possible way. Taking away vanilla, banana, strawberry and chocolate milk is very bad!! I hate the taste of milk but drank the flavored ones! The salad dressing is watered down, the pizza is cheep and just gross. Stop messing with the food, we would like to see food that looks like and taste like what I grew up eating, real beef, with out fillers, real ripe, fruits and vegetables grown and harvest at their PEAK!!
    Real meat loaf, sloppy joes, HAMBURGERS AND FRIES,( NOT BAKED) sausage and gravy, real fish, real beef stew, beef stroganoff, CHICKEN POT PIES, real southern biscuits and rolls, real pancakes, and eggs. French toast, grill cheese sandwiches!! Grapefruit, avocados, peaches, pineapples, kiwis, cucumbers, spinach, salads, cheese cubes, and boiled eggs!!
    Back in GRAFORD, TEXAS 1982-1995 they had the best food, towards the end the food was starting to go down hill, I’m would not be surprised to learn government involment in the decline.
    Second of all, the food was made by mothers, and had a totally different taste then prepackaged trash the kids get now. We loved the ladies and would get to fellowship with them as we went through the line, and we were asked what we wanted and they dipped it out and down the line we went, there was no other options, you ate what they fixed or you CHOOSE NOT TO EAT, that simple. Later on I do recall getting vending machines, but that was never my first choice, I loved the school’s food, the workers and we could get seconds!! Then, we could play in the gym, the library, or go to the front lawn, go hang out in our next class, or the AG and home Ec. You people need to put things back the way they were back then!! I am not impressed with your so called improvements!!

  2. Diane Peterson says:

    My son is an 11th grader in the middle of Iowa and complains every day that the school food tastes horrible. Last fall when it was football season the football players brought their own lunches and had snacks in their lockers as they couldn’t get enough calories at lunch to sustain them through practice after school! I’m all for eating right and healthy and my son eats pretty much everything, but you can’t limit everyone’s calories–some kids need more!

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