Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Posts tagged: Healthier US School Challenge

Michelle Obama Praises Schools in Louisiana for Taking the HealthierUS School Challenge

First Lady Obama praises schools for improving child nutrition.

First Lady Obama praises schools for improving child nutrition.

I just took part in an exciting event at Brock Elementary School in Slidell, Louisiana. The school proudly hosted a visit by First Lady Michelle Obama on September 8, when she spoke about her Let’s Move! initiative and the importance of a healthy lifestyle for kids. As you can imagine, the school administration, food service staff and the students were all thrilled to have the First Lady at their school. This school was chosen because of the exemplary job they have done in providing healthy meals and physical activity for their students. Read more »

North Carolina School Earns Gold for Creating Healthier School Environment for Kids

 Blog by Dr. Lynn Harvey, Ed.D., RD, LDN, FADA
Section Chief, Child Nutrition Services, Division of School Support,
NC Department of Public Instruction 

It was a proud day in North Carolina as Thomasville Primary School earned the HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award.  Officials from the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture were in Thomasville, N.C., to present the award.  Child Nutrition Personnel were joined by the Mayor, members of the City Council, County Commission, and Board of Education, the Superintendent, Principal, Teachers, Parents…and of course, the VIPs of the day…the STUDENTS!  Thomasville Primary School was the “jewel” in the state education crown having earned top recognition for their efforts to educate the “whole child.”

  

As part of the celebration, students demonstrated what they do all year, to not only achieve the Healthier US School Challenge nutrition standards, but also the physical side… they planted seeds in the school garden as they got instruction from a local farmer; they honed their match skills by spending money (school-issued currency) to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at their produce stand; they played Food Pyramid Scramble (yes, running and squatting was involved….just ask USDA Food and Nutrition Branch Chief, Jane Mandel, and Southeast Regional Administrator Donald Arnette who ran the race in business clothes!) 

 

When guests arrived for the awards celebration, they were greeted by the school’s Child Nutrition Personnel wearing bright yellow T-shirts that said ”Let’s Move”.

  

“The reason we picked this slogan,” said Brenda Watford, Thomasville County Schools Nutrition Director, “was to let First Lady Michelle Obama know that we are behind her ‘Let’s Move’ program. We want to help stop the obesity epidemic. We send newsletters home about the nutrition that children need and fact sheets about our fresh fruits and fresh vegetables that we serve as part of our USDA Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program.” 

  

What I observed on this day was nothing short of a complete transformation in the school cafeteria. I saw a generation of “lunch ladies” transform into a new generation of “Let’s Move Ladies.” So at the end of the celebration…we respectfully said “Good Bye Lunch Ladies….Hello “Let’s Move Ladies!” 

Thomasville Primary School’s Let’s Move and Nutrition Staff and other local, state and national VIPs were on hand to celebrate the school receiving a USDA HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award in Thomasville, NC, (USDA Photo by Debbie Haston-Hilger)
Thomasville Primary School’s Let’s Move and Nutrition Staff and other local, state and national VIPs were on hand to celebrate the school receiving a USDA HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award in Thomasville, NC, (USDA Photo by Debbie Haston-Hilger) 

Physical Education Teacher Mandy Davis runs with a Thomasville Primary School student in the “strawberry in a spoon race” as part of their Let’s Move program inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama. The school received a USDA HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award. (USDA photo by Debbie Haston-Hilger)
Physical Education Teacher Mandy Davis runs with a Thomasville Primary School student in the “strawberry in a spoon race” as part of their Let’s Move program inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama. The school received a USDA HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award. (USDA photo by Debbie Haston-Hilger) 

Child Nutrition Assistants Shirley Ryals and Carrie Crump serve nutritious foods to Thomasville Primary School students during the lunch meal showcasing why their school won a USDA HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award (USDA photo by Debbie Haston-Hilger)
Child Nutrition Assistants Shirley Ryals and Carrie Crump serve nutritious foods to Thomasville Primary School students during the lunch meal showcasing why their school won a USDA HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award (USDA photo by Debbie Haston-Hilger) 

Nourishing a Nation at the Wholesome Wave Foundation Conference

By Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, USDA

Exploring creative avenues to nourish a nation is a great to start any week.  And that’s exactly what USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan and I had the opportunity to do this Monday (May 10, 2010) during the first Wholesome Wave Foundation conference in Washington, DC.

The Wholesome Wave Foundation is a nonprofit organization that, with the help of its partner organizations, provides locally grown food to underserved neighborhoods across the nation.  They’ve achieved success through partnership-based programs that serve food deserts in rural and urban communities. And thanks to the important connections they’ve established, their efforts boost the visibility of existing Federal, State and local government agencies that share their values.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan is never an easy act to follow, but the conference did offer a natural forum for issues like childhood obesity and childhood hunger. So a dialogue on the strategies of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign, the HealthierUS School Challenge, and expanding access to healthy foods at farmers’ markets through SNAP (formerly food stamps) and WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) – was enthusiastically embraced.

After the presentation, I was fortunate enough to meet a number of community leaders and stakeholders attending the conference, including an impressive group of farmers’ market operators in Maine – a place I have worked, lived, and known fondly for years.  Next, I spoke with media on Child Nutrition Reauthorization, SNAP EBT cards, and the impressive strides recently made in Texas to provide nutrition assistance benefits to their most vulnerable citizens.

The foundation’s hallmark Double Value Coupon Program encourages the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables by doubling the value of SNAP/food stamp dollars at participating farmers’ markets throughout the country.  It’s an innovative idea, and one that shares our mission of fostering a healthier nation for all.