Veg variety expands acceptance with kids

Australia: Increased acceptance for multiple vegetables was noted during the five weeks of one study and sustained at the three-month followup. Following the study, parents reported that offering the vegetables was “very easy” or “quite easy” with the majority following the instructions provided by the study.

This study recruited 32 families with children between the ages of four and six where low consumption of vegetables was reported. Parents completed an online survey and attended an information meeting prior to participating.

Study data was collected in several ways: two dinner meals served at the research facility during which children could eat as much of the broccoli, cauliflower and green beans as they wished; changes to actual vegetables consumed at home, childcare or school recorded through food diaries; and parents reporting on usual vegetable consumption. Families introduced one vegetable served broccoli, other families tried multiple vegetables. Parents were provided with a voucher to purchase the vegetables and given instructions on portion size and cooking instructions along with tips on how to offer the vegetables. Children were served a small piece of vegetable three times a week for five weeks. A sticker was given as a reward to children trying a vegetable.

Families that offered multiple vegetables recorded an increase in consumption from .6 to 1.2 servings, while no change in consumption was observed in families serving a single vegetable or families that did not change their eating habits.


The Daily Caller Is Totally Wrong About Michelle Obama’s School Lunches 

A study in misrepresentation

The data used in the Virginia Tech study ends in 2007 — five years before the first round of new school lunch standards went into place, three years before Congress passed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, and two years before Barack Obama was officially sworn is as president.

In short, the data from the Virginia Tech study has absolutely nothing to do with Michelle Obama’s school meals program — and actually shows how much reform for school nutrition was needed.
“We found that the longer children were in the programs, the higher their risk of being overweight,” Wen You, associate professor of agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech and co-author of the study, said in a press release. “The question now is what to do in order to not just fill bellies, but make sure those children consume healthy and nutritious food — or at least not contribute to the obesity epidemic.”

Source: The Daily Caller Is Totally Wrong

A Hidden Cost to Giving Kids Their Vegetables – The New York Times

A really fascinating article that markets should read. Programs like Power of Produce (POP), cooking demos and packaging some smaller amounts may help with this issue.

But the poor parents I followed had little leeway to ignore waste. One mother strove to provide healthy food on a budget. She cooked rice and beans or pasta with bruised vegetables bought at a discount. These meals cost relatively little — if they’re eaten. But when her children rejected them, an affordable dish became a financial burden. Grudgingly, this mother resorted to the frozen burritos and chicken nuggets that her family preferred.

To consume a variety of nutritious foods, children need to acquire new tastes. This is an opportunity that many families cannot provide. Schools can familiarize children with nourishing foods through gardening, experience-based nutrition education and healthy school meals. Because many schools lack the funding to expose children to varied, wholesome foods, it is essential to expand the promising programs that have begun to address this problem.

Pediatricians and nutrition educators can also suggest how to reduce waste. Recommendations could include offering foods that are shelf-stable and easily divisible, like frozen fruits and vegetables, so parents can offer small amounts repeatedly without generating excessive waste.

Source: A Hidden Cost to Giving Kids Their Vegetables – The New York Times

Wrapping up 2015 with Backyard Gardeners Network

Okay, I said that I would post two stories of organizations doing great work that help direct marketing producers and markets, but I decided I should support one organization in my own city too, so now it is three.
I chose this organization because it has quietly shared resources and space to anyone wishing to grow food, to work at a garden or increase food sovereignty in the Lower 9 or across New Orleans. I first met BGN’s E.D. Jenga Mwendo about 10 years ago and was able to spend some time with her then and have kept an eye on her organizing since. I am impressed with her enthusiasm for honest grassroots work and her willingness to partner with larger entities whenever necessary, and yet not allow her community to be swallowed up by their intentions. In other words, in a very turf-y area of organizing here in New Orleans (no pun really intended), she does her level best to rise above all of that and do what is good and nurturing.


Source: ANNUAL UPDATE | Backyard Gardeners Network

For Children Impoverished at Least a Year, Food Stamps Provide Critical Stability 

Ratcliffe’s research has shown that a secure environment is incredibly important. Analyzing 40 years’ worth of data, Ratcliffe found that many children cycle in and out of poverty and that 1 in 10 is persistently poor, spending at least half their childhood below the poverty line. Persistently poor children have substantially worse outcomes as adults and growing up in disadvantaged neighborhoods, moving a lot, or having parents with lower educational achievement can further affect poor children’s chances at success. SNAP and other benefits, however, can help stabilize families, priming children to break out of the cycle of poverty.

Source: For Children Impoverished at Least a Year, Food Stamps Provide Critical Stability | Community Commons

Farm Shares | Grow Dat Youth Farm

A recent success story in New Orleans for urban farming and school-aged youth, Grow Dat has sold their produce through at their City Park farmstand, at farmers markets, through online ordering/home delivery services and now with this CSA method. GDYF is a well-regarded project that has produced very real outcomes in a challenging funding and food environment. The success of Grow Dat’s project work along with their constant advocacy for urban farmers has truly risen all boats.

Farm Shares | Grow Dat Youth Farm.

Michel Nischan

Great interview with Michel Nischan, founder of Wholesome Wave and long time Farm To Table chef. He tells Louisiana Eats host Poppy Tooker about how and why he created his public role.” title=”Interview withMichel Nischan by Poppy Tooker”

Class gap: Obesity declines in well-off kids, but climbs in the poor

In 2009 to 2010, 26 percent, or roughly 1 in 4 kids whose parents have at most a high school education, were obese, compared to 7 percent, or roughly 1 in 14, kids whose parents have at least a four-year college degree, according to Frederick. He cited data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys and the National Survey of Children’s Health.


Answer the poll and help Cooking Matters Colorado

The Kashi REAL Project™ is committed to helping solve the Real Food Deficit, and as a part of their ongoing efforts, have partnered with the non-profit Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters® Colorado. Cooking Matters Colorado is tackling the Real Food Deficit by equipping families with the tools to make healthy meals at home, practice responsible food shopping, shift budgeting behaviors, and teaching children and families healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. For every poll answer, $1 is donated to help Cooking Matters Colorado** expand their cooking skills courses to more families and help build stronger, healthier communities.

In your community, what is the biggest challenge to healthy eating? | The Kashi REAL Project |

If children lose contact with nature they won’t fight for it

Good language in here for project proposals that involve taking student groups to farms and gardens. That the number of children involved in creative outdoor activities fell so quickly is shocking and can be addressed by activities that markets organize. Also, how access to nature can be a creative stimulant for later learning could also be the basis of your project for your targeted market day activities.

The remarkable collapse of children’s engagement with nature – which is even faster than the collapse of the natural world – is recorded in Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, and in a report published recently by the National Trust. Since the 1970s the area in which children may roam without supervision has decreased by almost 90%. In one generation the proportion of children regularly playing in wild places in the UK has fallen from more than half to fewer than one in 10. In the US, in just six years (1997-2003) children with particular outdoor hobbies fell by half. Eleven- to 15-year-olds in Britain now spend, on average, half their waking day in front of a screen.

In her famous essay the Ecology of Imagination in Childhood, Edith Cobb proposed that contact with nature stimulates creativity. Reviewing the biographies of 300 “geniuses”, she exposed a common theme: intense experiences of the natural world in the middle age of childhood (between five and 12). Animals and plants, she contended, are among “the figures of speech in the rhetoric of play … which the genius in particular of later life seems to recall”.

Studies in several nations show that children’s games are more creative in green places than in concrete playgrounds. Natural spaces encourage fantasy and roleplay, reasoning and observation. The social standing of children there depends less on physical dominance, more on inventiveness and language skills. Perhaps forcing children to study so much, rather than running wild in the woods and fields, is counter-productive.

UTNE Altwire – If children lose contact with nature they won't fight for it.

Allergic levels higher for urban kids

Urban kids have more allergies.

Data revealed that the odds of food allergies were significantly higher in more densely populated areas as compared to rural areas and small towns. Rates varied significantly from almost 10 percent prevalence in urban centers to only 6 percent in rural areas. The study also found that the most common food allergy was for peanuts, and milk and soy were two of the most consistent allergies throughout the various demographic areas.

One explanation for a higher prevalence of food allergies in urban areas is that exposure to certain “microbial agents’” or agitants earlier in life may somehow protect a child from developing food allergies later in life. Kind of the same argument for people who use sanitizers too much on their hands and become more susceptible to getting sick as it weakens their immune system. Either way, the association between food allergy prevalence steadily rose as population density rose as well, which makes it clear rural kids are far less likely to suffer from an allergies than their city-dwelling counterparts.

So, once again like in the Dirt Adds Value story from the NYT, linked on this blog, we need to be part of the natural world from the beginning for so many reasons. Farmers and farmers markets contribute to that familiarity and need to be recognized for that.