Category Archives: news and events

Think Like a Farmer, Honor the Harvest

Erin Fitzgerald

What do sustainability and nutrition have in common? Everything. That’s according to Erin Fitzgerald, senior vice president of global sustainability for the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

She addressed the Oregon Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Educational Conference as keynote speaker on May 4, conveying the importance of consumers and farmers working together to preserve the world’s resources while feeding America and a growing global population. Fitzgerald leads efforts to enhance dairy’s contributions to a more sustainable food system.

At the conference, Fitzgerald addressed the world’s need for food and the natural resources needed to produce food, stating that:

“We are exceeding the caring capacity of this earth. And since the global middle class will triple by 2030, we need to be prepared to provide more food. But how? We are losing 50 acres of farmland an hour due to urban encroachment. Our farmland is our rainforest. It is our nation’s greatest natural resource.”

However, she offered a message of hope. “I absolutely do believe we can solve for this. But it’s going to take an incredible amount of innovation,” she said. Fitzgerald addressed three major pathways toward sustainable food systems:


   Reduce waste and inefficiencies.

   Manage natural resource constraints.

   Advance farm technologies for crops in a bio economy.

Fitzgerald sees incredible benefits to advancement in technology. “By unlocking the potential of agriculture we will be able to cycle and manage carbon through agriculture, to solve for climate change,” she said. She followed that the biggest need is to create a revolution where consumers commit to adopt a farmers mentality to leave this earth as a legacy for future generations. “How are we going to get people on a sustainability pathway if we don’t already have the values and commitment to leave this world better than we found it?” said Fitzgerald.

She encouraged nutrition professionals by saying, “Take comfort in this stat that 48% of our land, air and water is in the stewardship of our farmers. They are truly providing these ecosystem services that we have taken for granted.” She went on to explain, “Dairy was the first industry sector to make a commitment to climate change.”

But aside from the sustainable practices that are ingrained in a farmer’s way of life, Fitzgerald also points out how important the cow is to our food system. “Because of the cow, we don’t have to wait for plant growing cycles, but we get nutrition year-round,” she said. “We take that for granted, but globally, around the world, to be able to provide nutrition 365 days while you are waiting for the crops to come in is a very big deal.”

As for the consumer’s role in sustainable nutrition, she explained that we are currently throwing away a third of the earth’s food. “Farmers are not going to have the chance to get this right unless people are eating healthy and not throwing their food away,” she said. “They are not honoring the harvest. What we do on our plates that has the greatest significance to the environmental impact.”

Fitzgerald encouraged her audience to create a ‘food-cycle movement,’ which includes: nourish people, eat right (leftovers too), get food to the food insecure, do your part in your community, and create a social handprint with food. She said, “That’s why I get excited to talk to [dietitians]. If someone is not there working with the consuming public on behavior change, then we won’t be able to solve for climate change.”

RELATED LINKS:

Western States Introducing Dairy to SE Asia

Cheese and ice cream … what better way to further introduce U.S. western dairy foods to Southeast Asia, the world’s fourth largest economy?

During the week prior to the start of May World Trade Month, four western states – Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Arizona – collaborated to present cheese, ice cream, butter and milk powder ingredients to some 80,000 attendees of the Food and Hotel Asia show in Singapore.

As part of the U.S. Dairy Export Council’s (USDEC) trade show booth, coordinated by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, western dairy processors presented a sampling of the quality and excellence of U.S. dairy foods available to this growing market.

Several cheese varieties from the group were on display and sampled during USDEC’s Tuesday evening cheese sampling reception. Throughout the trade show, several potential buyers inquired about products, and sampled both cheese and ice cream.

Participation in this show follows other recent inbound and outbound trade missions coordinated by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council to build new markets for exports of regional dairy products.

 

Oregon Dairy Farmers Step Up for #dairydanceoff

Dairy farming can be tough. It’s a 24 hour, 7 days a week responsibility, and fluctuating prices don’t always compensate for the hard work. But dairy farmers are also resilient – and creative.

What started as a fun idea from dairy farmers Jessica Peters from Pennsylvania and Katie Pyle from Maryland became a nationwide trend on social media. Using the #dairydanceoff hashtag, they decided to dance the blues away and challenge others to do the same.

In her post, Peters says, “Let’s show the world that even though dairy farming is tough right now, you can’t keep a good famer down” Their challenge: stay positive and keep on dancing. And many dairy farmers responded with #dairydanceoff videos of their own.

Oregon dairies were no exception. Rickreall Dairy and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council asked the Oregon Dairy Princess-Ambassadors to get the party started. And they sent a challenge out to other Oregon dairies who have followed suit:


Rickreall Dairy got the party started.


Eberhard’s MooMoo Belle milked it for all it was worth.


Cloud Cap Farm’s dancers deserve a round of applause.


Tillamook Dairy Farmer refused to participate … or did he?


For more #dairydanceoff fun, be sure to follow the hashtag! And be sure to show Oregon Dairy Farmers your support by following them, liking their posts and sharing them with your friends.

RELATED LINK:

Ten Oregon Dairy Farms to Follow on Facebook

Three Oregon Schools Honored for Wellness Efforts

It’s official! McNary Heights Elementary in Umatilla School District, Madison Elementary in Coos Bay School District and Vern Patrick Elementary in Redmond School District are winners of the 2018 Oregon School Wellness Award.

This award recognizes schools for outstanding school wellness policies, practices and programs that promote healthy student and staff behavior. These schools have implemented evidence-based strategies to encourage student, staff and community health and wellness. These strategies include:

  • Providing healthy celebration opportunities
  • Scheduling recess before lunch
  • Providing breakfast after the bell
  • Wellness initiatives for school staff
  • Family Night events that get everyone moving
  • School gardens
  • Healthy cooking programs for families
  • Open gym before and after school hours

“There is clear data that student health and student learning are connected. School-based wellness policies and activities create a safe place for students to practice selecting foods and experience physical activity that contribute to lifelong health,” ODE Manager of School Nutrition Programs Heidi Dupuis said. “These awards highlight the best efforts in Oregon to support wellness in students, their families, and communities.”

The Nutrition Council of Oregon and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, the title sponsor for these awards, join the Oregon Department of Education in recognizing these schools. Each award recipient receives a $2,500 cash prize, a banner and a certificate of recognition presented at local school celebrations that will take place over the next two months.

“Many schools across Oregon have strong wellness policies,” Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council Director of Youth Wellness Crista Hawkins said. “These schools bring wellness policies to action through healthy eating and physical activity initiatives. The winning schools are wonderful examples of the work being done to support on-going wellness for students, staff, and school communities.”

The places where we live, work and learn have a big impact on our health. Wellness policies guide school efforts to establish an environment that creates a healthy workplace for staff, and promotes student health, well-being, and ability to learn. All districts are required to have wellness policies in place that meet Oregon’s minimum requirements, but schools can choose to implement stronger policies or additional programs to further support student and staff wellness.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Build Boats!

2018 Royal Rosarians Milk Carton Boat Race

Sunday, June 24, 11 a.m., Westmoreland Park Casting Pond

With the 2018 Milk Carton Boat Race only two months away, this year’s flotilla of boats is already beginning to take shape. It’s not too late to enter. Registration is open, and the event is 100% free to participate and attend.

The Milk Carton Boat Race features large, hand-made, human-powered boats that float entirely by means of recycled milk cartons and jugs. This year’s event will welcome boaters back to the historic Westmoreland Park Casting Pond on Sunday, June 24.

A Rose Festival tradition dating back to 1973, the Milk Carton Boat Race has included boats of all shapes, sizes and styles. There have been boats struggling to stray afloat with just one rider and a boat that easily held eight people. You see boats built for speed and showboats that are just on the water for style points.

Each milk jug will support eight pounds and each half-gallon carton will support four pounds. With large teams, that can take a lot of empties. Thanks to our friends at Kroger Swan Island Dairy and Darigold, a limited supply of boat “starter kits” helped give teams a head start. A limited number of recycled jugs and cartons may still be available to local teams for pick up. Send your request to info@odncouncil.org.

The Milk Carton Boat Race is produced by the Royal Rosarians and presented by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. Participants who choose not to keep their boats for future years will be encouraged to dismantle and recycle them at their home.

RELATED LINK:

The Royal Rosarians Milk Carton Boat Race (information and registration)

 

New School Meals on the Menu for Oregon Students

The words “school cafeteria food” are taking on new meaning as Chef Garrett Berdan is training a growing number of child nutrition program professionals to prepare delicious and nutritious food for Oregon students.

A series of six culinary training events are underway to help improve school cafeteria menus statewide. With support from the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education, Child Nutrition Programs, this popular program is now in its eighth year.

The 2018 series includes Central Point, Nyssa, Bend, Salem, Umatilla and Hood River.

Chef Garrett Berdan, RDN, coaches child nutrition program professionals on cooking-from-scratch culinary skills, while preparing 15 different recipes. It is offered at no cost to school nutrition professionals, who are able to practice menu planning, weights and measures, knife skills and other culinary techniques.

The preparation of healthy meals for students emphasizes nutrient-rich foods, because studies show that well-nourished kids perform better in school.

“These trainings use Oregon State University Extension Food Hero recipes that meet USDA school nutrition requirements and emphasize using locally produced foods and ingredients,” said Erin Hirte, Manager of Youth Wellness for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “Oregon farmers are helping provide creative solutions to old challenges that will benefit students now and into the future.”

Oregon’s dairy farm families and processors invest in youth wellness and education. They are involved with schools across the state, supporting programs such as this training.

 

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Oregon Celebrates National School Breakfast Week

National School Breakfast Week (March 5 to 9) is a weeklong celebration of the School Breakfast Program, which provides millions of children a nutritious morning meal each school day. Dairy is an important part of those balanced, nutritious breakfasts, so the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council helped organize events for Oregon schools.

On Monday, Independence Elementary Schools’ fourth and fifth grade students gathered in the gym for a special assembly with former NFL player Anthony Newman to learn about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast in order to fuel their day.

“When you start in the morning, you have to fuel your body,” said Newman, “and put something in your body so you can go all day long.”

On Tuesday morning, Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador Stephanie Breazile joined Newman in celebrating healthy school breakfasts with students and the school nutrition team at Ash Creek Elementary School.

“When you come to school, it’s like a game. If you don’t take care of yourself you’re going to crash. You’re going to get tired,” Newman warned. “Fuel your body, and take care of your body with the proper foods.”

Both assemblies ended with encouragement for students to take a pledge to live a healthy lifestyle. Alongside Newman, students and staff signed a poster to commit to that declaration.

According to a survey of School Nutrition Association members, 96 percent say student participation increases during National School Breakfast Week. National School Breakfast Week appearances were made possible by the Fuel Up To Play 60 program – a school health and wellness program supported by dairy farmers in partnership with the USDA, the NFL and the National Dairy Council.

 

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Future Chefs Learn Good Cheese Starts with the Cows

This week, a group of 13 aspiring chefs from Oregon Culinary Institute took a closer look at where cheese comes from by taking a field trip to the source. They visited TMK Farm and Creamery, a 20 cow dairy and boutique creamery located in Canby, Oregon.

“We support the farm to table movement by providing chefs and culinary students with the opportunity to visit a dairy farm,” said Anne Goetze, Sr. Director of Nutrition Affairs for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “It was a perfect match, and they learned firsthand about all of the factors that go into producing high quality milk and dairy foods, including care for animals, land, water and air.”

Between milking cows and making cheese, it was truly an opportunity for hands-on learning. TMK Creamery hosted a cheese making class where students were able to join in the entire process of making queso fresco cheese. Queso fresco, which translates as “fresh cheese,” is the most widely used cheese in Mexican cooking.

From cutting the curds, draining the whey and actually milking the cow, all the steps were included. Education is the goal for TMK. They want students, especially in the culinary world to understand not only the process, but also the passion behind their artisan cheese.

“It all starts with a quality milk,” says Bert Garza, who makes the cheese alongside his wife Shauna, “and to get quality milk, you need to be caring for your animals.”

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RELATED LINKS:

TMK Farms and Creamery

Oregon Culinary Institute

Artichoke Jalapeno Dip

Score Points with this Super Artichoke Dip.

Word on the street is there’s going to be a pretty big football game televised this Sunday. One might even call it “super,” with the express written consent of the National Football League, of course.

No plan yet for your big game watch party? Kick it off with this artichoke dip that’s sure to score points with your guests. It’ll be super in a bowl, or on a plate, and will stand apart in a crowded field of game day snacks and appetizers.

Yields 2 cups

dash-recipehealthy-recipeSide dish recipe

 

 

Dietitian’s Tip: 

  • Scoop onto crunchy carrot sticks, cucumbers, radishes, or jicama
  • Serve with whole grain crackers
  • Dip left over? Spread on whole grain toast for a healthy snack

 

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ cup plain Greek-style yogurt or plain yogurt, strained*
1 cup canned water-packed artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry, chopped
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh jalapeno chili, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate a couple hours before serving.

Follow the link to LiveBest for directions to strain plain yogurt.

 

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Per ¼ cup serving: 57 calories, 1 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 6 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 1 g fiber, 228 mg sodium, 168 mg potassium, 16 mg magnesium, 123 mg calcium

 

Recipe courtesy of LiveBest

Four Seasons of Oregon Dairy Stories

Looking back over the past year, there were a lot of great stories about Oregon dairy farmers, processors and the positive work they support with schools, health professionals and communities across the state.

In case you missed them, here are links to some notable posts we shared in 2017:

Umatilla Learning Connection Town Hall Reaps Positive Results

What I Learned on My First Visit to a Dairy Farm

21st Century Dairy Farm, 21st Century Dairy Farmer

Grants Support Strengthening Oregon Schools and Students

New Elk Meadow Students’ Video Highlights Healthy Habits

Community Inspired to Live Stronger, Healthier and Happier

Outstanding in His Field: Noah Miramontes on Dairy Farming and Soccer

Meet the Miramontes Family: First Generation Oregon Dairy Farmers

Seven Things You Should Know About Large Dairies

Every Day is Earth Day for Dairy Farmers

Exploring New Markets for Dairy Exports

Southeast Asia Dairy Trade Mission Updates

School Culinary Trainings Spice Up the Menu

Back to School: Literacy Project Helps Bridge Gap

Eight Questions for an Oregon Dairy Mom

Oregon Celebrates School Wellness Awards

Adopt a Farmer Program Includes Oregon Dairies

Milk Builds Strong Schools in Oregon

Is DASH the Best Diet … Ever?

Improving School Meals for Oregon Students

Two Great Ways You Can Enjoy the Milk Carton Boat Race

Starting the Day out Right with School Breakfast

Farming with Innovation and Heart Earns National Award for Rickreall Dairy

Brews to Moos: Cows Savor Brewery Byproduct

For This Nurse, Dairy Farming Provides the Perfect Antidote

Grant Helps Hermiston School Connect Technology, Nutrition

Dairy Princess Ambassador Goes International

Milk Celebrated as Official Beverage of Oregon, OSAA

Oregon Schools Invited to Apply for School Wellness Awards

Stacy Foster Selected to Manage Oregon Dairy Industry Relations

Oregon’s Newest Creamery Invites You to the Farm

Advancing Health, Wellness and Education in Rogue Valley

New Adopt a Farmer Video Features Oregon Dairy

Ten Oregon Dairy Farms to Follow on Facebook

Recent articles have also covered the DASH Diet, solar panels and milk as Oregon’s official state beverage. Stay tuned, because we have more interesting and exciting stories coming your way in 2018. If you have a burning question or a topic you’d like to see us cover, just let us know.

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