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Category: Food and Nutrition

Connecting Health, Faith and Agriculture: How One Community is Using Agriculture to Support Community Health

A student from Conetoe Family Life Center presenting

A student from Conetoe Family Life Center discusses her favorite aspect of the program. 17 students from CFLC's program gave a presentation to USDA leadership and staff about their programs.

In the rural community of Conetoe, North Carolina, residents are taking aim at the lack of access to healthy and nutritious food and its youth are leading the charge. In the predominately African American town, more than 60 youth participants of Conetoe Family Life Center (CFLC) have a direct role in the health and welfare of their community.

Conetoe Family Life Center was established in 2007 by Reverend Richard Joyner, a 2010 CNN Hero, to address persistent poverty and lack of access to healthy foods for the predominantly African American rural town of Conetoe, North Carolina.  As a result of CFLC’s efforts, the community has seen a dramatic decrease in negative health determinants. Read more »

Kick off a Healthy New Year with SuperTracker!

The SuperTracker My Messages web page

Sign up to have SuperTracker notifications sent to your email address!

Do your New Year’s resolutions include a healthier eating style and more physical activity? Whether you find inspiration from a personal challenge, or by competing with others in a group, we have the tools to keep you motivated and help you reach your goals with updated features in SuperTracker, the food and physical tracking tool from the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP). Read more »

Welcome to the MyPlate New Year’s Challenge

The 5-week MyPlate New Year’s Challenge lets you earn points for making small changes that add up to big wins.  Find your #MyPlateMyWins at ChooseMyPlate.gov/MyWins.

The 5-week MyPlate New Year’s Challenge lets you earn points for making small changes that add up to big wins. Find your #MyPlateMyWins at ChooseMyPlate.gov/MyWins.

The MyPlate Team welcomes you to join us for a fun and competitive way to start the New Year—join our MyPlate New Year’s Challenge! The MyPlate Team is hosting a 5-week challenge, featuring a new food group each week along with physical activity. Join our New Year’s Challenge now by visiting our MyPlate New Year’s Challenge page or by searching for “MYPLATE” on SuperTracker’s Join Group page. It’s never too late to join, so make sure to share this opportunity with your friends, family, and coworkers!

The first food group featured in the Challenge is the Dairy Food Group. Dairy foods include all fluid milk products as well as foods made from milk that retain their calcium content, like cheese and yogurt. Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) is also part of the Dairy Group. Calcium is a mineral that helps us to build bones and teeth, and maintain bone mass. Choosing low-fat or fat-free dairy options helps lower your intake of saturated fat.  Read more »

MyPlate, MyWins: Find Your Real Solutions for a Healthy New Year

MyPlate, MyWins Resolutions infographic

Turn your resolutions into real solutions with MyPlate, MyWins. (Click to enlarge)

Every January, Americans are bombarded with information about New Year’s resolutions. While many of us set our hopes high on January 1st, our commitment to our lofty resolutions tends to dwindle over time.  In fact, by June, less than half of us are still committed to accomplishing our New Year’s resolutions! One reason for this waning interest is that our resolutions often are unrealistic, incorporating extreme goals and expecting immediate perfection. We sabotage ourselves with these strategies. Instead, starting with small steps and celebrating milestones along the way are shown to be more helpful strategies in keeping resolutions. As you begin thinking about your resolutions for 2017, I encourage you to start with MyPlate, MyWins.

Let MyPlate, My Wins be a resource to help you turn your resolutions into real solutions for a healthy new year.

Real solutions are small, practical changes that add up to a healthier lifestyle over time. Real solutions do not have an end date; they are changes that can be incorporated into Americans’ lifestyles to help maintain a healthy eating style long term. USDA’s MyPlate, MyWins meets Americans where they are and helps to build healthier eating habits from there, rather than setting unrealistic goals at the start. MyPlate, My Wins allows Americans to personalize their goals and eating habits to fit their needs. Read more »

Getting a School Garden Blooming

Administrator Audrey Rowe visiting the Young Women’s STEAM Academy at Balch Springs Middle School

Administrator Audrey Rowe visits the Young Women’s STEAM Academy at Balch Springs Middle School, where students established a school garden as part of their culinary arts program.

School gardens are gaining popularity across the country. In Texas, nearly 3,000 schools participate in farm to school activities. Some of these schools work with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go program. Jeff Raska, a school garden specialist with the AgriLife Extension, works with numerous programs and offers practical advice to schools establishing a school garden. Here, he discusses the importance of a strong school garden committee.

By Jeff Raska, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Dallas County Texas

A school vegetable garden can be a wonderful outdoor classroom for studying natural science. Having worked with school gardens on and off for more than 25 years, I have seen many great school garden programs bloom, and then fade as time passes and school priorities change. For the last seven years, I’ve had the privilege of working with school gardens as a 4-H Club program assistant for Dallas County and have had the benefit of seeing a wide range of needs and challenges that schools face when trying to start a garden. However, the most successful programs have a few important things in place. Read more »

Minneapolis School Embraces Family-Style Dining

A woman with students

Sarah, a regular Webster volunteer, enjoys joining kindergarten students for lunch.

How do you create a better lunch experience for students? It all started with a conversation between Ginger Davis Kranz, Principal of Webster Elementary School, and the Minneapolis Public Schools’ Director of Food Service, Bertrand Weber. In September 2016, I was fortunate enough to visit Webster Elementary School in Minneapolis and see for myself how their family-style dining works. I’d like to share Webster Principal Ginger Davis Kranz’s inspiring blog about her school’s innovative and thoughtful approach to the students’ mealtime experience.

By Ginger Davis Kranz, Principal of Webster Elementary School

What if school lunchtime was more than just a wait in line and a race to find a seat and eat, but instead was more like a traditional family meal – a time when friends gather to enjoy their food, engage in meaningful conversation, build relationships and gain important life skills? After reflecting on this question, Webster Elementary, a Minneapolis public school, made the decision to abandon the typical chaotic and impersonal lunchroom experience and create a family-style dining program. Read more »