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RSU #20 Healthy Kids - Blog
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About RSU 20 Healthy Kids: Under the guidance of Linda Hartkopf, RSU 20 School Health Coordinator, a group of parents, health professionals called RSU#20 Healthy Kids has been meeting for approximately three year. The mission of the group is to research and set goals on how a healthier lunch program could be implemented within the RSU #20 school district.

RSU20 Healthy Kid has thus far succeeded in eliminating all hyper-processed food from cafeterias and in obtaining that 20% of the food budget be spent with local farmers. To join us, email coordinator Thierry Bonneville at info@rsu20healthykids.com or Linda Hartkopf at lhartkopf@rsu20.org | Read more...

The blog below is intended to provide you with the latest news related to the National School Lunch Program. We highlight district initiatives and broader trends in school nutrition aimed at fighting children obesity.



16Apr
FARMS TO CAFETERIAS - Tips for creating a memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between a school institution and a farm producer
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:39
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Screen_Shot_2014-04-16_at_10.42.42_AM(SOURCES: FARM TO CAFETERIA | READ FULL ARTICLE HERE)

6 Tips for creating a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between an institution and producer

1- Start small when working with a new producer, planning for one or two menu items at a time to test how the relationship will work, if the product’s quality is up to your standards, and to decide if you’d like to scale up purchases from that vendor in the future.

2- Specify and clearly communicate your program’s needs. Give producers a copy of your menu and volume needs, so they can plan(t) around them. Decide on a timeline that works for both parties (ie: weekly deliveries of spinach May – August, or a one-time mass delivery of carrots in the fall). Discuss packaging preferences such as number of pounds in each box/bag, type of packaging (vacuum-sealed, loose-packed, or other), and any other special requirements.

3- Consider the middleperson. Will the product require processing or storage? How will it be distributed? These questions will determine if you work with a distributor, or have an agreement directly with a processor or producer. For example, when buying beef from a local rancher you might have it ground into taco meat at a local processor, and delivered by an independent distributor. The MOA can still be with the rancher, though the price should consider the added processing and delivery costs.

4- Agree on a price or price range. This can be tricky, as prices may vary due to unforeseen weather events and other factors influencing the market. That’s why it’s helpful to decide on a price range that’s somewhat flexible and is expected to work for both the buyer and seller.

5- Coordinate a payment plan. Decide whether you will pre-pay for the product, pay on delivery, or some combination of the two. Be aware that in Montana, state agencies are not permitted to pre-pay for a product that does not yet exist (like onions that haven’t been planted yet).

6- Be patient. Coming up with an MOA that works for both parties can take a while, which is why January is the perfect time to get started. Once in place, MOAs can form the foundation for long-lasting relationships that ultimately save you time with local purchasing.

Entering into an MOA with a food producer or institution may be intimidating at first, but the quality of the relationships built over time can make it more than worthwhile. Solidifying commitment and trust on both sides as agreements are renewed creates reliable business for producers and a reliable supply of fresh, locally produced food for the buyers, supporting local economies over the long term. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get to planning…

Check MOA templates offered by Farm to Cafeteria

 
16Apr
Local Farms, Local Kids: A Montana Farm to School Movie
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:27
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Screen_Shot_2014-04-16_at_10.29.41_AMThe movie follows the path of a butternut squash from field to school, and as it goes along, viewers will learn about the close working relationships between the Western Montana Growers Cooperative, the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, FoodCorps, and local schools.

Source: Grow Montana | Website

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:32
 
16Apr
Free-for-All in the Cafeteria (Editorial board NYT)
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014 06:58
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Screen_Shot_2014-04-16_at_8.00.05_AM

(Source: Editorial Board, New York Times, April 9th, 2014 | READ FULL ARTICLE HERE)

More than a million children attend public schools in New York City. About 780,000 of them are poor enough to qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch. Getting into the program requires some paperwork, which is a burden but not a terrible one; the application is just one page. So why do so many eligible children — about 250,000 — not participate?

The problem, advocates for schoolchildren say, isn’t so much aversion to the menu — today across the city, it’s roast turkey, stewed beans, sweet plantains and an oatmeal raisin cookie (plus chickpea salad, for high schoolers) — as it is the embarrassment and bullying that come from being identified as poor, from being seen taking the “free-free,” the derisive nickname New York school children give to subsidized lunches.

A stigma is an anecdotal phenomenon, but advocates say it’s real, pervasive and borne out by school-lunch participation rates, which plummet as children get older. It’s 81 percent in elementary school, 61 percent in middle school and 38 percent in high school. Many teenagers, it seems safe to assume, would rather go hungry or eat junk from vending machines than get caught in the wrong line for turkey and beans.

Here is where you would expect to hear a conservative’s bootstrap lecture telling poor kids to brown-bag it or suck it up. But the more realistic and understanding response would be to find other ways to encourage children to take the food they’re eligible for.

Here’s one we like: Make lunches free. For everyone. The city should stop collecting lunch money and pay what it takes to eliminate the “free-free” stigma.

(...)

(Source: Editorial Board, New York Times, April 9th, 2014 | READ FULL ARTICLE HERE)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 07:12
 
15Apr
The Pew Charitable Trusts Commends Senators Collins (R) and Heitkamp (D) for Supporting Healthy School Foods
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Tuesday, 15 April 2014 08:07
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Pew-Charitable-Trusts-Collins-Maine-Food

(Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts | April 2, 2014 | FULL ARTICLE HERE )

Jessica Donze Black, an expert with The Pew Charitable Trust’s initiative on child nutrition, issued the following statement on the School Food Modernization Act, S. 2210.

"We are pleased that Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) have introduced the bipartisan School Food Modernization Act to help schools upgrade kitchen facilities and train personnel to serve healthy meals. This action builds on the support for improving school foods that Congress has already demonstrated.

"Schools across the country are serving healthy foods that meet strong nutrition standards. But many must rely on costly and unsustainable workarounds because they lack the right tools and staff training. In fact, 88 percent of school districts around the country say that they need at least one piece of new kitchen equipment, and 64 percent face challenges with staff training. This bill will help schools remove these obstacles so that they may more efficiently and safely serve the healthy foods that students need.

"The foods served in schools are now healthier than ever—an important achievement considering that 31 million students consume more than half of their daily calories at school. The School Food Modernization Act will help to build on school officials’ and parents’ strong desire to continue this progress."

The School Food Modernization Act

The School Food Modernization Act would establish both loan and grant assistance programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help schools upgrade their kitchens and dining areas and acquire new equipment. It would also authorize funding for training of and technical assistance to school food service personnel throughout the country. A bipartisan House version of this legislation, H.R. 1783, was introduced by Representatives Tom Latham (R–IA) and Mike McIntyre (D–NC) in 2013.

(Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts | April 2, 2014 | FULL ARTICLE HERE )
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 08:12
 
14Apr
From 'gross' to great: Santa Ana students critique foods
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Monday, 14 April 2014 10:44
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Food-Cafeteria-Students-Tasting(Source: ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER | ARTICLE BY BY LAUREN STEUSSY | FULL ARTICLE)


(April 3, 2014) The future of Santa Ana school cafeterias was in the hands of students Wednesday morning as they taste-tested everything from turkey sandwiches to fish tacos, voting for the options they would most likely eat.

Santa Ana Unified has been hosting periodic food shows like the one held in the wrestling room at Santa Ana High School as a way of complying with new federal cafeteria food requirements while also appealing to the taste buds of picky eaters. More than 50 menu options were presented to the students.

“This one was gross, and it had no flavor,” said Santa Ana High senior Jasmine Davalos, referring to a chicken and cheese crispito sample before moving on to the more acclaimed pizza.

Finding the right balance between nutritious food and items that appeal to students can be an exercise in futility. All students are required by federal law to pick up at least one fruit or vegetable, a meat or meat alternative and a type of whole grain. If the students don’t take these three food groups, the district could lose its cafeteria payment from the federal government.

The requirement creates a challenge for school cafeterias: requiring students to eat foods they typically don’t like. A lot of fruits and vegetables, for example, get thrown out, said Tony Wold, executive director of business operations for Santa Ana Unified.

Santa Ana Unified is also required by federal law to serve free meals to all its students. Even if it’s free, though, some students would rather not eat at all than eat cafeteria food. This is why Santa Ana High sophomore Armando Morales has avoided cafeteria food since middle school. He said the food doesn’t sit well with him.

(Source: ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER | ARTICLE BY BY LAUREN STEUSSY | FULL ARTICLE)

Last Updated on Monday, 14 April 2014 11:05
 
10Apr
FED UP DOCUMENTARY (TRAILER)
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Thursday, 10 April 2014 13:52
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Fed Up Documentary

A documentary by Katie Couric, Laurie David and Stephanie Soechtig

Challenging everything you thought you knew about food, Executive Producer Katie Couric tackles and examines the industry, politics and the future of our kids. FED UP blows the lid off everything we thought we knew about food and weight loss, revealing a 30-year campaign by the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, to mislead and confuse the American public, resulting in one of the largest health epidemics in history. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of An Inconvenient Truth) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP will change the way you eat forever.

For more information check the documentary facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FedUpMovie

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 14:01
 
26Mar
RSU 20 HEALTHY KIDS TURNS 3!!!
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Wednesday, 26 March 2014 09:53
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RSU20-Third-BirthdayRSU 20 HEALTHY KIDS TURNS 3

Three years ago a group of parents sat down in a cafeteria with RSU 20 school health coordinator Linda Hartkopf to discuss the alarming rate of childhood obesity in our schools. Out of that meeting emerged RSU 20 Healthy Kids, a group dedicated to addressing the problem by improving the quality of food our schools buy, prepare, and serve.

Since then, RSU 20 Healthy Kids has worked to raise awareness among school officials and the community about obesity, health, and the importance of providing our children with nutrient-rich food. We’ve invited food service managers from other school districts to speak to our school board, brainstormed with local nutritionists and the Waldo County General Hospital wellness staff, organized screenings of nutrition-related movies, inspected our schools’ pantries to identify nutrient-poor, hyper-processed foods, and participated in school lunches.

We’ve also highlighted innovative school food-service programs that provide students with nutritious, high-quality food, often at similar cost than those that rely on highly processed fare. Borrowing a cost-saving idea from nearby RSU 3, we connected our district with with local farmers and a local processing plant with the aim of buying fruits and vegetable in bulk when they are in season and storing them for later use. Our blog, rsu20healthykids.com, tracks these initiatives and broader trends in school nutrition.

Most notably, RSU 20 Healthy Kids has worked with the school board to
  • Eliminate all hyper-processed food from our school cafeterias
  • (No more “Cheese Pizza Quesadilla” with over 90 ingredients and no nutritional value.)
  • Commit 20 percent of the district food budget to buy from local farmers
  • (These local property tax dollars now support local producers, who supply our children with fresh, nutritious food.)
  • Participate in the USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge
    (This resulted in national recognition for five RSU 20 schools in 2013.)

These achievements represent a significant contribution to the quality of life in our towns and, more importantly, to the good health of our students. Much work remains to be done--RSU 3, long a source of inspiration for our group, now spends 40 percent of its budget on local food and Portland Public schools says they've reached 36% local this year--but on this third anniversary we also have much to celebrate. On behalf of RSU 20 Healthy Kids, we thank the parents and professionals who gave of their time and energy to support this effort. We also applaud our courageous school board members, administrators, and staff members for their commitment to fighting childhood obesity.

Congratulations to all involved and remember: "Impossible is not a word, just an excuse to not try."

Please share this birthday announcement on your Facebook pages! We're always looking for new members and fresh ideas.

Thank you,
Thierry Bonneville, coordinator
info@rsu20healthykids.com

RSU 20 Healthy Kids.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 11:59
 
26Mar
PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS - LOCAL LUNCH EVERY THURSDAY & 36% LOCAL SOURCING
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Wednesday, 26 March 2014 08:14
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Screen_Shot_2014-03-26_at_9.17.23_AMLOCAL LUNCH EVERY THURSDAY!!

Every Thursday will be our Buy Local Day. Multiple items on every school menu will be sourced from the region – all year long!!

Maine Marinara, Salt and Sea Redfish, Beef from Maine Grind in Guilford, Amato’s Bakery breads, farm fresh fruits and vegetables from a variety of sources from Crown of Maine, Spear Farm, Farm Fresh Connection, Snell Family Farm, Fairwinds Farm, Fresh Start Farm, etc.

In 2013, we served over 50,000 pounds of local fruit and vegetables. Food Service spends approximately 12% of our food dollars excluding dairy on local products. This is a huge feat not matched by many districts, especially urban ones in the country.  

Attaining our ultimate goal of spending half of our food budget on local products has been a baby step process of putting systems in place piece by piece. Last year our purchases from Oakhurst Dairy, Amatos Bakery, The Maine Grind Meat Company, Cozy Harbor Seafood and produce from Maine farmers put us at 30 percent of our food spending. This year, along with those vendors, we've focused quite a bit more on the produce piece.

During Maine Harvest Lunch Week (9/17 - 9/21) we purchased over 2,500 lbs of local produce and since then have made sure there are two to three local offerings on the menu every week. As a result, for the months of October, November and December we've purchased 12,000 lbs of produce from within the state.

These purchases have also gained us a few new skills. For instance in order to take advantage of low prices suddenly hitting the market, we've had to learn how to make last minute ordering changes a smooth process. Such deals happened this past fall on green bell peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes and broccoli.

Q&A WITH RON ADAMS, FOOD SERVICES DIRECTOR IN PORTLAND ME PUBLIC SCHOOLS (SOURCE: WAYSIDE MAINE)

How many meals do you serve each day?

More than 7,100 breakfast, lunch and snacks at 23 locations.

What are the costs and how many students are eligible for free or reduced lunches?

Lunch prices are $2.50 for K-5 and $2.75 for 6-12. Breakfast costs $1.50. In Portland 54 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

What are your long-term goals?

We are trying to get closer to the break-even point for our meals. To do that, we need to increase the number of students eating our meals from 52 to 60 percent.

We also want to offer free breakfasts in all of our schools. We currently serve free breakfasts at nine schools. We want to expand that. A good breakfast really helps get kids ready to learn.

What changes have you seen over the years?

The emphasis on nutrition and local sourcing compared to an emphasis on revenue.

Recent federal guidelines have emphasized healthy menus. How has that played out in Portland?

We have worked very hard to make meals more nutritious and balanced. A lot of the kids would like to have chicken nuggets everyday, but that’s not healthy. We are really building our meals around nutrition. We now offer salad bars and feature more whole grains. We work hard to cook healthy food that kids like to eat, which can sometimes be a challenge.

What is happening with local foods?

We source locally whenever possible. In fact each Thursday we feature a Maine Harvest Lunch. (Harvest lunches include such local dishes as chicken drumsticks, redfish, ground beef, rutabaga sticks, blueberries, Daikon radish, kohlrabi and apples.)

Right now 36 percent of the food we serve is local, which we define as within 275 miles. We serve local fruit and vegetables, meat, and chicken. And we are now getting fish from Portland-based Salt and Sea.

A recent USDA Farm to School grant helped us obtain equipment (such as a processing sink and industrial-sized peeler) to process local foods, which can be frozen for use in the winter. We are serving local food throughout the year. For example, this week we are making marinara sauce from local tomatoes and vegetables. Right now, we are cooking a 65-gallon batch.

What about other sustainability efforts?

We are now using serving entrees in individual, compostable containers to reduce waste. In the new facility we have a dishwasher that allows us to use reusable trays instead of polystyrene disposable trays. We also use a local composting service with district wide cafeteria waste separation.

Are you seeing hunger issues in the schools?

This is always a concern. We make it as easy as possible to access our meals and to help there is a food pantry and a backpack program. We are always trying to get the word out to address hunger through school meals.


For more information, please visit The Portland Public Schools' website: HERE

 


Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 16:40
 
26Mar
Exposure to Pesticides in Produce with Dr. Alex Lu, Harvard
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Wednesday, 26 March 2014 07:29
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Dr. Chensheng (Alex) Lu, Associate Professor of Environmental Exposure Biology at the Harvard School of Public Health, explains why reducing pesticides in your diet is critical to reducing the toxic effects of pesticide exposure for you and your family.

Learn more about how to reduce pesticides. For more information, please visit: www.ewg.org/foodnews

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 07:33
 
25Mar
12 Fruits & Veggies With The Most Pesticides
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Tuesday, 25 March 2014 00:00
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The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. That being said, EWG issues every year a shopper's guide to help us determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic.

Everyone can lower their pesticide intake by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and choosing the least contaminated produce.
DIRTY DOZEN
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Hot peppers
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet bell peppers

  • DIRTY DOZEN +:
    Kale/collard greens and Summer squash
    CLEAN FIFTEEN
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet corn
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Sweet potatoes

  • Source: EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides™ (Read full article)

    Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 08:00
     
    25Mar
    March 2014 Report: Serving Mainer Healthy School Meals requires updated Equipment & Infrastructure
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    Tuesday, 25 March 2014 00:00
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    Screen_Shot_2014-03-26_at_9.48.39_AM(source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts)

    Maine at a glance: 

    • 84 percent of school districts in Maine, compared with 86 percent nationwide, are successfully serving healthy meals that meet strong nutrition standards. However, this often requires schools to work around equipment and infrastructure challenges in ways that are expensive, inefficient, and unsustainable. 

    • 99 percent of school districts in Maine, compared with 88 percent nationwide, need at least one piece of equipment to better serve nutritious foods.

    • 31 percent of school districts in Maine have at least some budget for kitchen equipment upgrades. Model approaches for financing these improvements are outlined in Serving Healthy School Meals: Financing strategies for school food service

    • 48 percent of the districts in Maine, compared with 55 percent nationwide, need kitchen infrastructure changes in at least one school.

    DOWNLOAD MAINE REPORT (PDF HERE)
    Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 08:58
     
    26Feb
    Portland school students test (local) seaweed pizza
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    Wednesday, 26 February 2014 00:00
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    (Source: Bangor Daily News | Feb 26, 2013 | READ FULL ARTICLE HERE)

    (...) As part of a program to expand offerings of locally sourced food in the school’s cafeteria, students are given weekly chances to taste-test new dishes and give them the proverbial thumbs-up or thumbs-down on whether the cuisine should be added to the hot lunch menu.

    This week, they’re trying pizza dressed with a type of brown kelp known colloquially as horsetail — or laminaria digitata in the science books.

    “I was surprised by the response,” said Paul Dobbins, co-founder of the Portland-based kelp farm Ocean Approved, which is supplying the topping du jour at the East End school. “I’d said, ‘Oh, it’s not for kids.’ … But we’ve got to give our kids more credit. If you take the mystery out of this, they’re very receptive.

    “Digitata is so mild, some people say it tastes slightly of the ocean, but doesn’t have a strong flavor,” he continued. “It takes on the flavors around it.”

    Despite seaweed’s slippery, slimey reputation, fourth grader Devyn Shaughnessy corroborated Dobbins’ assessment after downing her bite-size square of the new food. Any anticipatory gross-out was quickly overcome by the very familiar tastes of cheese, dough and tomato sauce.

    “It tasted like regular pizza with a little bit of green on it,” she said.

    Which, for one boy on hand for Wednesday’s tasting, begged the question: “If it doesn’t taste like anything, why bother putting it on the pizza?”

    The answer: It’s extremely healthy.

    “It’s one of the most nutritious vegetables on the face of the Earth,” said Dobbins, rattling off a list of beneficial seaweed components, including calcium, iron, fiber and magnesium.

    “Iodine is not something that’s found naturally in many foods, and seaweed is a really good source for that,” added Mailander.

    And it’s locally grown, which is a priority for Portland schools. The Casco Bay location where Dobbins harvests his kelp is almost visible from the high-ground perch where East End Community School is located.

    Portland Mayor Michael Brennan has made a sustainable foods initiative a cornerstone of his term in office, and is seeking to increase the amount of locally sourced foods served in city schools to 50 percent over the next two years — 30 percent of what the district cafeterias currently serve is locally sourced, including milk.


    (Source: Bangor Daily News | Feb 26, 2013 | READ FULL ARTICLE HERE)
     
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    Mike Hurley shares:
    “First they ignore you,
    then they laugh at you,
    then they fight you,
    then you win.”
    ~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

    LATEST POSTS

    + Full StoryFARMS TO CAFETERIAS - Tips for creating a memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between a school institution and a farm producer

    (SOURCES: FARM TO CAFETERIA | READ FULL ARTICLE HERE) 6 Tips for creating a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between an institution and p [ ... ]


    + Full StoryLocal Farms, Local Kids: A Montana Farm to School Movie

    The movie follows the path of a butternut squash from field to school, and as it goes along, viewers will learn about the close worki [ ... ]


    + Full StoryFree-for-All in the Cafeteria (Editorial board NYT)

    (Source: Editorial Board, New York Times, April 9th, 2014 | READ FULL ARTICLE HERE) More than a million children attend public scho [ ... ]


    + Full StoryThe Pew Charitable Trusts Commends Senators Collins (R) and Heitkamp (D) for Supporting Healthy School Foods

    (Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts | April 2, 2014 | FULL ARTICLE HERE ) Jessica Donze Black, an expert with The Pew Charitable Tru [ ... ]


    + Full StoryFrom 'gross' to great: Santa Ana students critique foods

    (Source: ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER | ARTICLE BY BY LAUREN STEUSSY | FULL ARTICLE)
    (April 3, 2014) The future of Santa Ana school cafeteri [ ... ]


    + Full StoryFED UP DOCUMENTARY (TRAILER)

    A documentary by Katie Couric, Laurie David and Stephanie Soechtig Challenging everything you thought you knew about food, Executive [ ... ]


    + Full StoryRSU 20 HEALTHY KIDS TURNS 3!!!

    RSU 20 HEALTHY KIDS TURNS 3 Three years ago a group of parents sat down in a cafeteria with RSU 20 school health coordinator Linda Ha [ ... ]


    + Full StoryPORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS - LOCAL LUNCH EVERY THURSDAY & 36% LOCAL SOURCING

    LOCAL LUNCH EVERY THURSDAY!! Every Thursday will be our Buy Local Day. Multiple items on every school menu will be sourced from the  [ ... ]


    + Full StoryExposure to Pesticides in Produce with Dr. Alex Lu, Harvard


    Dr. Chensheng (Alex) Lu, Associate Professor of Environmental Exposure Biology at the Harvard School of Public Health, explains wh [ ... ]


    + Full Story 12 Fruits & Veggies With The Most Pesticides

    The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. That being said, EWG issues every [ ... ]


    OUR GOALS

    LEARN MORE ABOUT RSU #20 HEALTHY KIDS PARENTS GROUP'S GOALS:

    CLICK HERE