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Posts tagged: Darlene Barnes

Colorado Schools Providing Nutritious Options in Their Meal Plans

By Darlene Barnes, Mountain Plain Regional Administrator, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service
Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 12, 2010

Yesterday (Wednesday) I spent the day at the beautiful Christa McAuliffe Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Colorado Springs School District 11 has initiated some impressive projects when it comes to bringing healthier meals to students. Fortunately, I had an opportunity to share one of those meals with the school’s first-graders, district superintendent, and school board members during my visit.  We had a multitude of healthy choices ranging from a salad bar, whole wheat crust pizza, several varieties of fruit, and the surprise of the day – locally grown asparagus.

After lunch, I met with more than a dozen school food service directors from Colorado school districts, as well as Colorado Department of Education staff, parents, farmers, and others who make healthier school meals a reality.  I learned of important strides being accomplished through school breakfasts in the classroom, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, local wellness committees, and efforts by schools to purchase and serve local produce.

I also received feedback on how Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization can support local school districts – ideas I plan to share when I’m back in Washington, DC.  It’s hard to convey how gratifying it was to spend time with Colorado’s hard-working state and district representatives, as well as the many others doing exceptional work running school meals programs in their communities.

Colorado School Nutrition Tour  Under Secretary Janey Thornton (left) and Darlene Barnes, Administrator
of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Mountain Plains Region, chat
with children in Colorado Springs, Colo., about healthy meal choices.

Utah Works to Help Feed Those in Need

  Darlene Barnes, Mountain Plains Regional Administrator, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service

It was going to be tough matching Wednesday’s visit to Colorado Springs, but if anyplace can compare, it’s breathtaking Salt Lake City.  But Utah is more than just a pretty face.  It’s one of seven new states this year that began operating the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).  Thanks to Utah and others’ commitment, CSFP participation now includes 39 states, two Indian Tribal Organizations, and the District of Columbia.
While there, I took the opportunity to tour the Bountiful Food Pantry, the first site in the Salt Lake area to begin distributing food packages.  CSFP food packages there are available to the elderly as well as to women, infants, and children.  A little later I was joined by staff from the Food and Nutrition Service’s Mountain Plains Regional Office, where we took part in a celebration for CSFP at the Utah Food Bank.  I also had a chance to see their recently renovated food bank, and its a gorgeous facility!  A number of community partners came out to support the program, helping us get the word out about CSFP.  I’m confident we’ll be successful in spreading that important message to those most in need – in large part to the efforts of Utah’s food community.

 Utah Food Bank

Janey Thornton, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, (in center) and Darlene Barnes, Administrator of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Mountain Plains Region (second from left) traveled to Utah May 13 to help promote the launch of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program in the State.