Tag Archives: first lady

Central’s Week in Brief: October 14, 2011

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

1.With the NBA commissioner cancelling the first two weeks of the basketball season due to the lockout, it’s not just the owners and teams feeling the effects.  Restaurants all over the country are struggling with the current situation and fear what could happen if the lockout doesn’t end soon.  For example, in Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard told WTHR between 10,000 and 15,000 people visit the downtown area 50 times per year for basketball.  One pub owner told them he’s already lost six employees.  Hopefully the lockout will end soon and the hospitality industry can get back to business as usual.

2. As a part of her Let’s Move! campaign, First Lady Michell Obama teamed up with  National Geographic Kids for the Let’s Jump! event.  The October 11 event kicked off an attempt to break a Guinness World Record®.  What record? The most people doing jumping jacks in a 24 hour period.  She started Let’s Jump! on the White House’s south lawn, along with 400 local children.  The goal was to exceed over 20,000 people from all over the world and those who participated had to record and document their jumping jacks then send it in for review.  It’s still unknown whether or not the record was broken, but we’ll be sure to share the information as it becomes available!

3. The holiday season is just around the corner, which means restaurants are gearing up for sales.  In this NRN article, they said the National Retail Foundation “projected that retail industry sales for the months of November and December will increase 2.8 percent.” While that is an increase, it doesn’t quite match up to last year’s 5.2 percent increase. However, as they mentioned in the article, improvement is improvement and some restaurants are already pushing out their LTOs (limited time offers) to be in the minds of consumers.

4. San Antonio’s J. Anthony’s Seafood Cafe had quite the interesting experience this week when they were robbed by three women, one of which whom got stuck in the drive-thru window while attempting to make her escape.  The incident happened around 1 a.m. on October 12.  The other two women have not yet been found.  Read more about this story at the KENS5 news website.

5. Sometimes restaurants create some real head-scratching policies.  Zagat picked out 10 of the most controversial restaurant policies then took a look at both the pros and cons in this article. Take a look at these 10 and let us know which ones you stand by and which ones you don’t!

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Growing Healthier Students through School Gardens

Image from MorgueFileOften the options offered for school lunch are either less than appetizing or not very healthy.  The alternative to these selections is to provide meals plentiful in fruits, vegetables and other healthy and creative items.  Most parents, school board members and others would be quick to choose the second option to make ensure school-age children are full of energy and to avoid looming issues like obesity.   However, it’s not always quite that easy.  Frequently, when schools switch over to these nutritious offerings, students end up tossing more than they eat.  There’s also the increased expense of providing fresh, unprocessed food.   What can be done to solve this dilemma?  Many, including First Lady Michelle Obama who is currently writing a book about her White House Kitchen Garden, believe gardens could be the answer.

You may be wondering, other than just providing vegetables, what is the point of having a school garden.   Many sources say that the biggest benefit is the connection between the food and what is actually happening in the garden.  According to Sallie Marston, professor in the School of Geography and Development and co-manager of the University of Arizona’s school garden program,  “These children are physically involved in the garden in ways that teach them all kinds of stuff about soil, water, the hydrological cycle, pest control, intermixing plant varieties – you name it.”

This type of opportunity also allows teachers, parents and volunteers to open up student’s eyes to what they are eating and gives an opening to educate them on new items, as simple as fresh spinach or different varieties of tomatoes.   Karol Fink a dietitian with the Alaska Department of Health told the Anchorage Daily News, “Because of economics, of family practices or culture, some students have just not been exposed to healthy foods. Trying food from an early age is key.”   Many times, this exposure becomes the responsibility of the school and school gardens provide a perfect chance for the healthy foods to become more commonplace.

By teaching lessons in the garden about what certain foods are, as well as giving the opportunity to take a taste test, students may just discover that what they’ve refused to try at lunch may just not be so bad after all.  In an article in the Pueblo Chieftain, it says “According to the California School Garden Network, studies have shown that “garden-based” nutrition education can significantly increase children’s consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables along with their understanding of food and its relationship to their health.”

This should solve the entire lunch conundrum.  These gardens provide students not only with education and an opportunity to expand their culinary horizons, but also with a great, extremely fresh source to supply their cafeterias.  But it’s not that simple.

One of the biggest issues facing school gardens is that many schools are not currently allowed to use the food grown in school gardens in their own cafeteria.  To combat this in Hawaii, Rep. Jessica Wooley (D, Laie-Kahaluu), has introduced House Bill 198.  This bill would allow school grown vegetation to be used in cafeterias if the garden is first inspected and certified by the Department of Agriculture.  However, this solution still poses an issue considering the amount of time the inspection and certification take and currently, the bill has not been scheduled for a hearing.  Similarly, in Chicago guidelines prevent school consumption of food from their gardens because they don’t currently use “commercially prepared organic compost and fertilizers,” said Bob Bloomer, regional vice president of Chartwells-Thompson, in an article in the Chicago Tribune.

While school gardens may not always work in all ways or solve all of the issues posed today in school nutrition, it is still important to remember that ideas like this can put school-aged children on the right track to leading a healthier lifestyle.  Each step, whether it’s getting students to try a new healthy food at lunch or cultivating a garden that could feed the entire school, is one in the right direction.  One great thought on this comes from Dexter Kishida, school food coordinator in Hawaii.  Kishida told the Honolulu Star Advertiser about their gardens, saying, “This is not about raising farmers. It’s about raising eaters who understand what it takes to get that (food) to the table.”

For more information on starting your own school garden, check out KidsGardending.org or talk to your local school board.

Image from MorgueFile

Central’s Week in Brief: April 1, 2011

Image from MorgueFileEvery Friday Central will be bringing you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

Here are this week’s 5 links:

1) Headed to Washington this month? Want some much needed kitchen garden inspiration from the first lady? Obama Foodorama has your solution!

2) Grub Street New York has 10 Reasons why Gwyneth Paltrow may want to make rumors of her food magazine become a reality.

3) The finale of Top Chef All-Star’s was this week. In case you missed it, comedian Max Silvestri will give you the run-down (along with his own always hilarious commentary) over at Eater .

4) Nation’s Restaurant News has the scoop on Denny’s new bacon campaign that includes a maple bacon sundae.  Here are the results from our Facebook reader poll on the porky treat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) To prepare for spring, Earth Day (coming up on April 22) and some delicious herb filled dishes, try this fun project from Whole Foods.

We want to know, what food stories were your favorite this week?