Category Archives: schools

Food Hero’s Gardening Challenge helps kids grow with dairy and plants

Join ODNC and Food Hero with Food Hero’s Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge this spring. 38,000 free seed packets, donated by Bi-Mart, will be distributed by Food Hero to Oregon state residents as part of the program which aims to inspire kids to grow their own gardens and eat a healthy diet.

You can register to pick up a seed kit with Food Hero while supplies last. The seed packets will be available in 4 different seed kits: cool-weather vegetables, warm-weather vegetables, herb or edible flowers and flowers that attract pollinators, like bees and birds. Or you can join in with your own seeds, says Halie Cousineau, OSU Extension Food Hero state garden education coordinator.

The Food Hero Facebook page will hold weekly office hours when gardeners can ask questions, post photos and share their accomplishments, Cousineau said. Once they harvest their produce, gardeners can find more than 300 recipes using vegetables and fruits on the Food Hero website.

Children are a big part of the program. Beginning April 1, digital lessons will be released every Thursday through June 10 when school ends. The lineup includes Growing Healthy Kids with OSU Master Gardeners and a four-week lesson plan in partnership with the Oregon Bee Project. Kids will learn about how bees help make healthy food and how to identify several of Oregon’s bees.

Kids can upcycle their yogurt or milk containers and use sleeves provided by ODNC to help track the care and progress of their plants. Download yours here!

Throughout summer and into fall, participants will receive a monthly Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge email with gardening information, harvest recipes and storage tips. Challenge information will also be available in English and Spanish on the Food Hero gardening page. For more personalized interaction, participants can email challenge leaders or email or call the Master Gardeners in their area.

“We’re trying to make the program accessible to anyone, children, elders, people with special needs and the diversity of cultural populations in Oregon,” said Cousineau. “We’re encouraging people anywhere to join. We want to make a community.”

Score Big with School Breakfast!

National School Breakfast Week is a weeklong celebration of the School Breakfast Program, which provides millions of children a nutritious morning meal each school day. Milk is an important part of those balanced, nutritious breakfasts in schools, providing a rich source of protein, calcium, and other minerals to start the day. Former NFL player and Fuel Up to Play 60 Spokesperson Anthony Newman knows the importance of eating a healthy breakfast:

“Your school day is like a big football game; it takes energy,” said Newman, “you need to start the day with fuel for your body for your big game each morning.”

Even with most students attending classes from home this year, eating breakfast is an important part of the day and a great way to fuel learning and participation. 

Children who participate in school breakfast programs show decreased anxiety, less depression and less hyperactivity. A recent study showed that the breakfasts offered by these programs can improve a child’s overall nutrition by providing her/him with necessary vitamins and minerals and can reduce the risk of obesity. There is an especially big need for these programs in Oregon, since 1 in 4 children come from low-income, food insecure homes and are at risk of hunger.

Due to Covid-19, most schools are choosing to offer students grab and go meals at locations throughout Oregon. To find out more, check with your local school or school nutrition program, or visit the Oregon Department of Education’s School Meal Resource Page

Additional Resources:

IMPROVING SCHOOL MEALS FOR OREGON STUDENTS

WHAT WILL THE SCHOOL LUNCH OF THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?

MEET CHEF JESSICA: SERVING UP FRESH IDEAS FOR STUDENT MEALS (VIDEO)

Get Free Summer Meals for Oregon Kids and Teens

It’s summer!  And for Anthony Newman, former NFL player and Oregon Duck, that means more ways to stay healthy.  

Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon has reissued a map of summer meal programs throughout the state for kids and teens from 1 to 18 years old.  Find your pickup location and enjoy free, healthy lunches all summer long. 

There’s no registration, no sign up and no charge for these meals that are often served at local schools, parks, libraries or community centers.

All meals follow USDA My Plate guidelines, to promote growth and health for kids and teens.  What a healthy and delicious activity for the summer!

To find a site near you, call 211, text “Food” to 877-877, or ask your school nutrition website for details.

Looking for more ways to stay healthy?  Check out our “Stay Healthy” series with Anthony Newman with tips on how you can stay physically and mentally active, help others and make a Food Hero Smoothie!

Get Connected with Dairy Educational Opportunities Online

In light of distance learning, spring field trips have been cancelled, and all education has moved online. But, you can still visit a farm—virtually of course. Check out these links to see Oregon dairy producers (and friends) doing what they do best- making delicious dairy products for your fridge. 


In this video, Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador Jaime connects us with Darleen from Abiqua Acres: Mann’s Guernsey Dairy in Marion County shows you their beautiful Guernsey dairy cows who are milked by robots! The camera even gets a kiss from the cow named Darleen. 

Also in Marion County is Oregon 1st Alternate Dairy Princess Ambassador, Taysha, who will give you a tour of her family’s dairy. Explore cattle feed, maternity pens and feeding calves with a special appearance from the cutest barn cat. 

Next, travel to Harrold’s Dairy in Lane County to visit with Bobbi, a fourth generation dairy farmer who is introducing her dairy to 8th grade students at Coburg Community Charter School through AgLink’s Adopt a Farmer Program

You can find more educational videos for your virtual classroom on the Oregon Dairy Women’s Facebook page, where Oregon’s Dairy Princess Ambassador, Jaime, and First Alternate Dairy Princess Ambassador, Taysha, will teach you about all dairy cow breeds and cow nutrition, milk from farm to table, MyPlate nutrition, and so much more in this four part series.

You can view virtual tours for all grade levels from Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom, including a look into Rickreall Dairy’s automated calf barn, and a lesson for Jr. High students on cow nutrition

And, for more educational resources highlighting dairies across the U.S., check out Discovery Education’s new STEM curriculum.

Related Links:

Stay Home, Stay Healthy

Stay Healthy with Anthony Newman

Oregon Dairy Women Classroom Resources

Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom

Discovery Education: Caring for Cows & Nourishing Communities

Anthony Newman shares healthy tips for kids staying at home

Searching for free school meals in your area? Run out of recipe ideas? Looking for ways to exercise at home? Anthony Newman has got your back.

Anthony Newman, former NFL player and Oregon Duck, tackles health issues for kids and teens in our short video series, “Staying Healthy with Anthony Newman.”

Where to Find Free School Meals

Anthony Newman shares information on where to find free school meals in your area.  Free school meals are available to ALL kids and teens age 1-18.  Not just those in school.  No ID or registration is needed at pick up.  And they’re delicious and healthy!

For more information, visit these sites:

Full listing of school meal sites at oregonhunger.org
https://www.summerfoodoregon.org/map/

• For more information call 211 or your local school district.
https://www.211info.org/food

• List of Oregon school districts:
https://www.greatschools.org/schools/districts/Oregon/OR/

Staying Active at Home

Looking for some free and fun ways to stay active at home? Anthony shares exercise tips along with some easy ways to create your own activities at home.

Try GoNoodle and Move to Learn for more fun and free activities!

Taking Care of Yourself at Home

Self-care is an important part of staying on track while staying at home. Anthony shares information on the importance of sleeping, eating well, and how kids can establish a healthy routine during this time.

Try Oregon’s Distance Learning for All for learning resources in Oregon.

Ways to Stay Connected at Home

Feeling lonely or disconnected? Anthony provides tips on how to cultivate a positive attitude while staying safe and socially distancing.

Food Hero Smoothie Recipe

Who likes smoothies? You will after watching this video! Anthony shows you how easy it is to eat healthy at home with a recipe from Food Hero, a website chock-full of easy and nutritious recipes kids can make at home.

Fruit Smoothie Recipe

Remember to Stay Safe, Stay Smart and Stay Healthy!

RELATED LINKS:

Help Spread the Word So Oregon Kids Don’t Go Hungry

Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy

Be a Food Hero: Cooking With Kids (VIDEO)

Dairy Community Responding, Adjusting to COVID-19 Impacts

Help Spread the Word So Oregon Kids Don’t Go Hungry

Meal programs are getting nutritious food to children ages 1 to 18 in school districts statewide thanks to dedicated school nutrition professionals around the state with the support and partnership of Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs.

According to No Kid Hungry, one in six American children faces hunger and three out of four teachers report regularly seeing hungry kids in their classrooms. Oregon ranks especially high in food insecurity for youth. When school lets out unexpectedly for something like COVID-19, it poses potential problems for many students who depend on school meals.

That’s why many school districts are now providing drive up or walk up, “grab-and-go” meals at selected school sites for all youth from 1 to 18 years old at no cost, regardless of income. These meals meet strict regulations for nutrition and are provided at no charge, with no need to sign up or show identification. Some school districts are even delivering meals to children through their bus routes. This way of distributing meals has created a new set of logistical challenges in keeping food, especially milk and dairy products, fresh.

Seeing this immediate need, the ODNC Youth Wellness team quickly created a program on behalf of Oregon dairy producers and processors to provide portable coolers to support the new meal programs. 200 portable coolers were shipped across the state to help 32 school districts keep milk cold for grab and go meals as well as meals delivered on bus routes. “The coolers are helping us to serve safer meals to our kids by keeping the cold and warm things separate,” says Cheryl Davis, head cook for Spray School District.

Lunches available at a school in Hillsboro.

As closures were announced for the continuation of the school year, and unemployment numbers skyrocket, these grab-and-go programs continue to grow. Nutrition directors in Oregon and across the country anticipate the numbers will continue to rise as households are affected more long term and consume their existing and emergency food supplies.

Check out a meal site near you, and help spread the word on your social media accounts and in your community to help families with kids and teens ages 1 to 18.

Find a list compiled by Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon at this link, or call 211 for more information.

RELATED LINKS:

Oregon, Washington school districts offer meals to students amid coronavirus closures KATU, March 15

Virtual Tours Bring Dairy Farms to the Classroom

There’s a new way for classrooms to take field trips, thanks to technology. Instead of bringing kids to the farm, we’re bringing dairies to a school near you.

In schools nationwide, it isn’t always possible for students to take educational field trips due to time or funding constraints and transportation logistics. These field trips are missed among teachers and students alike, as they can play an integral part of the learning process. Field trips are also one of the best ways to learn about agriculture.

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“Field trips help students see, experience and learn about agriculture straight from the source. Students love the opportunity to experience something new, and teachers welcome the opportunity for a guest to share with their class,” says Jessica Jansen, Executive Director for Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation.

Thanks to technology, there is a new way to learn about agriculture without ever having to board a school bus. It’s as simple as connecting via a smartphone and laptop for a virtual tour.

Recently, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council partnered with Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom to host a virtual field trip at Rickreall Dairy. “It is incredibly important in my industry to educate students about what we do on a dairy farm,” says Louie Kazemier, owner of Rickreall Dairy, who also hosts traditional field trips every spring for more than 1,500 people yearly. “It gives students an opportunity to learn about where their food comes from, and also encourages them to think about career opportunities in agriculture.”

Agriculture in the Classroom, a nationwide educational program, is designed to help students develop an awareness and understanding that agriculture is the source of our food, clothing, shelter and other essentials. “At Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom we are passionate about connecting academic concepts to agricultural topics, and virtual farm field trips are a great way to do just that,” says Jansen. “We’re providing students the opportunity to witness new and exciting topics while showing them how this connects to what they are learning in the classroom.”

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For a dairy virtual tour, teachers sign up though the Agriculture in the Classroom website. A limited number of classrooms can sign up, and the first tour was booked in less than 24 hours. A week prior to the tour, the classroom receives a sensory box to explore items that they will view during the tour. For dairy farming, they focus on items that students can touch and smell like alfalfa, grain, and ear tags.

There are opportunities to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) though virtual tours. Whether it’s the math of converting pounds of milk into gallons, or the science of animal nutrition, STEM learning opportunities are abundant on a dairy farm.

“Through a field trip we provide students and educators context and relevancy with examples of why it’s important to know math, science and other content areas. The math alone on a dairy farm is extensive and helping students see how important it is and it being used is priceless for students,” says Jansen.

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The tours are filmed live using Zoom videoconferencing, but there are other platforms that could be used as well. “We recently brought 500 3rd through 5th graders through our barns in a little under an hour just by using Zoom,” says Kazemier, “and not only do they get to hear me explain what they are seeing on the screen, but they also get to ask their own questions in real-time.”

“One of my goals at the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council is to make it as easy as possible for dairy farmers to share their farms with students,” says Stacy Foster, Industry Relations and Communications Manager at ODNC. “Dairy farmers are incredibly busy. Virtual tours provide an opportunity for us to reach across the state of Oregon to hundreds of students in only one hour.”

Kazemier also appreciates that virtual tours can educate beyond traditional field trips. “There are places on a dairy farm that we would never go with students due to concerns of liability, biosecurity and cleanliness. With the virtual tour, we can literally give classrooms a “backstage pass” to our facility. They get to walk where the cows walk, and get up close and personal with our animals,” says Louie Kazemier.

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“While virtual farm field trips shouldn’t be a replacement for all farm field trips, it’s a great way to reach students who might not ever have the opportunity for a field trip,” says Jansen. Agriculture in the Classroom has plans to continue the program, with dairy and other agriculture sectors. “We’ll be planning two more dairy field trips, a series of two ranch-related tours this spring and a few crop-related experiences. Interested teachers can sign up for updates on our website.”

RELATED LINKS:

Virtual Farm Field Trip at Rickreall Dairy 

Calf Barn Virtual Field Trip at Rickreall Dairy

What Will the School Lunch of the Future Look Like?

Quinoa, kale, Brussels sprouts, tamales, green smoothies. These are all foods you might find in a trendy restaurant … or on a lunch tray in your local school cafeteria.

School lunches are fast overcoming their stereotypical reputation as bland and uninspired through some creativity and innovation by school nutrition professionals. On this National School Lunch Week, let’s take a look toward the future.

If you’ve ever tried to concentrate on something when you’re really hungry, you’ll understand that students don’t perform at their best without a nutritious lunch, which they won’t eat unless it tastes good. Schools are committed to providing great food in their cafeterias, and it can be challenging to be innovative when there are so many considerations, including:

• Making it tasty for a wide range of food preferences
• Making it easy to eat in a short period of time
• Cost and budgetary concerns
• Regulations and nutrition standards
• Allergies and dietary restrictions
• Sourcing and availability
• Food safety, storage and logistics
• Limiting food waste

Schools and school districts may operate differently, yet they share the common goal of providing meals their students actually want and will eat. These meals fuel students with the needed nutrients to grow and think. Improving menus can take some creativity, and that’s why culinary training events have proven so popular over the past nine years in Oregon.

Jessica Visinsky, a Registered Dietitian and trained chef, travels the state to teach child nutrition professionals about new recipes, knife skills, menu requirements and strategies to promote healthy eating. The trainings are sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs, and are offered at no cost to the schools.

As a result, school nutrition professionals are preparing more scratch recipes, often from the Oregon State University Food Hero program. Check out Food Hero for recipes that can be made at home and with kids. Students have responded positively. Many also explore farm to school opportunities to include seasonal fruits, vegetables and other local foods year-round.

The school lunch of the future will likely include more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Some are taking a serious look at plant-based diets and some are looking at local, sustainably sourced center-of-the-plate proteins such as seafood and beef. These are all complemented well by the nutrition provided in dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. Restrictions will continue for sodium, sugar and unhealthy fat, driven by science and recommendations from USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

You don’t have to gaze into a crystal ball to see the future of school lunches is looking bright. On this National School Lunch Week, we salute all of those who work so hard to put nutritious and delicious foods on our students’ trays. Thank you!

Home recipes of photos shown above … and more.

RELATED LINKS

Meet Chef Jessica: Serving up Fresh Ideas for Student Meals (VIDEO)

Chef Jessica Visinsky, RDN, is training a growing number of child nutrition program professionals to prepare delicious and nutritious food for Oregon students.

Sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Child Nutrition Programs, a new series of the popular culinary trainings are helping improve school cafeteria and child care menus.

Jessica Visinsky, Registered Dietitian and trained chef, who works on the ODE Child Nutrition Programs team, is leading the 2019 workshops in Lincoln City, North Marion and Umatilla to teach child nutrition professionals about 15 new recipes, knife skills, menu requirements and strategies to promote healthy eating.

In preparation for these workshops, Jessica visited the ODNC office to test recipes including National Dairy Council’s Sunny Chicken and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beef Tamale Pie. While Jessica cooked, we talked more about her thoughts on the program – check out the video below!

 

Anthony Newman Invites Kids to Enjoy Free Summer Meals (VIDEO)

Former NFL player and Oregon Duck, Anthony Newman, encourages all Oregon youth 1-18 years old to enjoy tasty, healthy lunches at nearby summer meal sites. There’s no registration, no sign up and no charge for these meals that are often served at local schools, parks, libraries or community centers.

Youth will have a chance to be nourished, be active and to have time with friends throughout the summer, and maybe even check out some books. What a great (and tasty) way to be ready for the start of school!

Parents will love to know that the meals follow USDA My Plate guidelines, providing all of the food groups to meet strict nutrition regulations for health.

To find a site near you, call 211, text “Food” to 877-877, or ask your school nutrition team for details.

RELATED LINK:

Summer Meals for Oregon Kids

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