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 gardensand 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.”
As we leave 2020 in the rear view mirror, we look back at a year that was unpredictable and exasperating for many. Time and time again, Oregon dairy farmers, processors and those in the dairy community proved to be resilient and rose to challenge after challenge. Among them; the pandemic, temporary supply chain disruptions, increased hunger, and historic wildfires. Throughout it all, Oregon dairy farmers proved they were there for their communities while working to provide nutritious dairy products – all without skipping a beat.
March abruptly impacted any previously made plans for the year. With the beginning of a statewide lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19, toilet paper made headlines as Oregonians began stocking up on supplies, but they also started to clean grocery shelves out of butter, cheese, milk and ice cream. Stores, and all those throughout the supply chain, quickly adjusted to meet the increased demand for milk and dairy foods. As restaurants and retailers closed their brick and mortar locations to the public, people were advised by government officials and medical professionals to Stay Home, Stay Safe and Stay Healthy.
As the shutdown continued, restaurant and retail closures unfortunately followed throughout the year, with notable Portland establishments like Toro Bravo, Beast and the much-loved Cheese Bar closing permanently. The closures impacted dairy and many other locally produced foods that supply restaurants and food service companies.
More people took to making their meals at home, using pantry staples like butter, milk, yogurt and cream. Stacy Foster, from our own team, joined in with her daughter, creating a delicious recipe from Food Hero.
Although though most summer events, like the Oregon State Fair, were cancelled due to the coronavirus, ingenious solutions were created to keep traditions going. The Oregon Dairy Women celebrated the 51st year of their Red Barn Ice Cream event by taking it on the road with the help of Wilco. By the end of the summer, they had visited five cities in Oregon and served hundreds people their famous cones and shakes.
Free summer meals were extended throughout Oregon through the year, resulting in nutritious food boxes and assistance programs that helped kids and families across the state.
And some farmers gave to their communities personally, like Rickreall Dairy, which celebrated the farm’s 30th anniversary by donating several hundred grocery bags full of food and milk to neighbors in need in their community. Tillamook dairy farmer Derrick Josi (aka TDF Honest Farming) bought meals for linesmen following a severe windstorm and for first responders during the subsequent wildfires.
Throughout it all, Oregon dairy farmers have been there, supporting their communities in ways too numerous to count, with delicious and nutritious food, helping their communities and caring for their animals and the earth. In 2020, dairy truly made everything better for a lot of people.
From our families to yours, we hope this next year is a safe, healthy and happy one.
Do you have a picky eater at home? It’s always a challenge to get kids to eat healthy, but studies have shown that if you involve your child in the meal prep, they are more likely to eat what they prepare. Plus it gives them something productive and fun to do during times while they are homebound.
In this video, Juliauna (age 5) makes Zucchini Pizza Boats with just a little help from her mom. And, at minute 2:31 you can see how much she loved what she made.
FoodHero.org is a fantastic website where you will find kid-approved, budget-friendly and healthy recipes. Plus you will also find meal ideas and shopping tips. Funded by Oregon SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education), they help Oregonians improve their health by increasing their consumption of nutritious foods.
Their website makes it easy to search for recipes that incorporate foods you already have in your home with a section where you can search recipes by ingredients. While supervision by a parent or caretaker is necessary for cutting and cooking, many of the recipes are easy for kids to make with very little help or direction. They also have coloring pages to help your children learn about the ingredients they are using.
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!
Since 1937, June has been designated as a special month to celebrate milk and all things dairy. National Dairy Month is an annual tradition that recognizes the contributions the dairy industry has made to health and happiness around the world.
Oregon has a lot to celebrate, and what better way to kick things off than World Milk Day? After all, milk is Oregon’s official state beverage. On every day of June, we served up some cheesy, dairy-themed jokeson social media. As an example, this was one of the crowd favorites: Why was the dairy farmer the slowest player on the baseball field? You’d be slow too if your jersey weighed 1,000 pounds!
There were several dairy events and observances throughout the month as well. Cloverdale dairy farmer Ron Hurliman served as Grand Marshal of the June Dairy Parade in Tillamook. With more than 120 entries, the parade is a centerpiece of the June Dairy Festival alongside the Tillamook County YMCA Milk Run and the Tillamook County Rodeo. You can read all about the festivities in this special insert from the Tillamook Headlight Herald.Capital Press also had this special section for June Dairy Monthwith several great stories.
We sponsored the Milk Carton Boat Race in partnership with the Royal Rosarians, the Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassadors, Darigold and many others. A Rose Festival tradition since 1973, the family-friendly event features kids, adults and teams racing across a pond on boats that float atop empty milk cartons and milk jugs. KGW television’s Drew Carney highlighted the event on his Sunrise showand KATU’s Katherine Kisiel was an event announcer.
At the national level, a running theme throughout the month involved dairy’s contributions to fighting food insecurity and child hunger. The “Real Love Convoy” brought Undeniably Dairy branded trucks to New York, Washington D.C., Detroit and Cleveland for media opportunities and public events featuring dairy. This included an appearance with spokeswoman Laila Ali and dairy farmer Katie Dotterer-Pyle on Good Morning America. Locally, we helped promote summer meals programs in Oregon with this special video featuring Oregon’s Fuel Up to Play 60 spokesperson Anthony Newman.
While National Dairy Month may be over, we’ll continue to celebrate dairy year round. Oh, and did we mention that July is National Ice Cream Month? Stay tuned for a fun announcement on National Ice Cream Day (July 21)!
When students from Armand Larive Middle School attended a Culinary Workshop in Umatilla, hosted by Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, they saw their school nutrition professionals in action. This post debuts a great new video they created to share their experience.
The Culinary Workshop is one of six regional workshops offered to school nutrition professionals throughout Oregon to help improve child nutrition programs. “I want to make sure we have a variety of foods represented, because these folks help make the menus for schools,” said Chef and Registered Dietitian Garrett Berdan.
Many of the recipes used for this workshop are from Food Hero (www.foodhero.org) , an online resource with shopping hints, cooking tips and videos, to help Oregonians improve their health with affordable and healthy recipes.
While attending the workshop, Armand Larive Middle School students interviewed, taste-tested and even gave their feedback on the finished recipes to re-cap the day. This is one of many video projects they have done with video equipment provided through a Fuel Up to Play 60 Grant.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is a school nutrition and exercise program launched by the National Dairy Council and the NFL to improve health and encourage today’s youth to live healthier lives. Grants are available to qualified K-12 schools to jump start healthy changes in the school environment.
“The students worked really hard on editing this,” said Angie Treadwell, SNAP-Ed Program Coordinator. “There was lots of footage to sort through, and I think it was a really good experience for them in many ways, especially in gaining a deeper understanding of school food service.”
As one of the many examples showing how the experience is paying off, Armand Larive Middle School’s Ashley Treadwell received Honorable Mention in the National Scholastic Press Association Individual Award Contest for her video story titled “Cooking Class.”
Fuel Up to Play 60 grant funding provided by local dairy farmers is making a difference in Oregon schools.
Armand Larive Middle School in Hermiston received a grant of $3,555 to purchase a computer, accessories and software for video production. The new computer equipment enables students to make Food Hero time lapse recipe videos to help educate students on healthy recipes.
For the application, the school teamed with Angie Treadwell, Family and Community Health Umatilla-Morrow SNAP-Ed Program Coordinator for Oregon State University Extension Center. “We are excited for the opportunity to help Armand Larive students gain additional experience in video production while educating and promoting healthy behaviors among their peers and perhaps, the community at large,” said Treadwell.
Additionally, with the new computer equipment purchased, students were able to compete at the Student Television Network Conference in Anaheim, California in March. Under the category of Middle School Anchor Team, Armand Larive took 2nd honorable mention.
At a special school assembly in April, the Food Hero videos were shown to the student body while they enjoyed tasting the ever-popular“Popeye Power Smoothie.” All of the videos created by the students are now on www.FoodHero.org.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with the USDA, to help encourage today’s youth to lead healthier lives. To learn more about the grant visit www.fueluptoplay60.com.
Sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education, Child Nutrition Programs, a new series of five popular culinary training events are underway to help improve school cafeteria menus for Oregon students.
For the past seven years, Chef Garrett Berdan, RDN, has been coaching child nutrition program professionals at regional trainings on cooking innovative, healthy meals using nutrient-rich, local foods. At the training events, participants prepare and taste test 15 actual recipes they can bring back to their students.
The preparation of healthy meals for students emphasizes nutrient-rich foods, because studies show that well-nourished kids perform better at school. Participants practice menu planning, weights and measures, knife skills and other culinary techniques.
This year’s series includes stops in Klamath Falls, Ontario, Lincoln City, Central Point and Aurora, Oregon. Trainings were held last year in Albany, Hermiston, McMinnville, Central Point, Salem and La Grande. Schools and childcare programs in each region are invited to participate in the two day training free of charge.
“Using quick, tasty and healthy Food Hero recipes and a little creativity, schools can really spice up their menus without breaking the bank,” said Crista Hawkins, RDN, LD, Director of School Programs for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “We’ve invited a lot of guests to come and try the good food at these events, and they’re consistently impressed.”
As part of an ongoing commitment to youth wellness and education, Oregon’s 228 dairy farm families and 29 dairy processors are involved with schools across the state, supporting programs such as this training.
Ontario Culinary Workshop, FUTP60 yogurt station
Ontario Culinary Workshop, Garrett with yogurt station and culinary lunch
Ontario Culinary Workshop, Kitty and grant funded cooler
Schools across Oregon have innovative projects underway focused on youth engagement, nutrition and physical activity, thanks to Fuel Up to Play 60grants funded by Oregon dairy farmers. Fuel Up to Play 60 is the largest in-school health and wellness program in the country.
The Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, in partnership with the National Football League, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Dairy Council, awarded grants to eight schools throughout the state last fall.
With grant funding, schools are purchasing blenders for yogurt smoothie classroom celebrations and carts for grab-and-go breakfast options. Brand new pans and salad bar inserts will be featuring fruits and vegetables from school gardens in cafeterias. Noise cancelling blankets are going up in one cafeteria to reduce noise and bring Smarter Lunch Room concepts to students. One school is using funding to create time lapse videos featuring Food Hero recipes highlighting whole grains, fruit and low fat dairy.
Physical activity goes hand in hand with nutrition for Oregon students. Students will be energized and ready to focus on learning throughout the day by participating in brain breaks in class. Students will be stretching out in yoga poses, checking their heart rates with monitors and counting steps with pedometers.
For more information on how you and your school can get in on the action contact the schools team: