Create a seed starter from your milk carton
Check out this handy guide from Carton to Garden to get your own seedlings started!
Check out this handy guide from Carton to Garden to get your own seedlings started!
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.
Will it float? That question typically gets an immediate answer at the Milk Carton Boat Race when kids, adults and entire teams of people climb onto handmade boats whose buoyancy depends entirely upon recycled milk jugs and cartons. Surprisingly, most of them not only float but prove to be stable and swift.
Royal Rosarians’ Milk Carton Boat Race
A Portland Rose Festival tradition since 1973
Sunday, June 23; 11 a.m.
Westmoreland Park Casting Pond, SE McLoughlin Blvd and Bybee Blvd
“There’s a tried and true formula — a one gallon jug supports eight pounds and a half-gallon supports four pounds,” said Josh Thomas, Senior Director of Communications for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “It’s splish splash if you don’t do the math.”
The event is 100% free to attend and compete, and there are awards for speed and originality. While time is getting short to build a boat, it isn’t too late to enter and compete.
“I have even seen people finishing their boats on the morning of the event,” said Thomas. He suggests collecting jugs and cartons from local coffee shops, restaurants, cafeterias, friends and family – and stocking up on duct tape.
While creativity is certainly encouraged, there are rules on size and all boats must be human-powered. Participants who choose not to keep their boats for future years will be encouraged to dismantle and recycle them at their home. For the race categories, rules and registration, visit the official Royal Rosarians’ Milk Carton Boat Race event page today.
The Milk Carton Boat Race is produced by the Royal Rosarians and presented by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.
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.
Fresh off of the school bus, wide-eyed youngsters set foot on a dairy farm for the very first time. They’re taking in all of the sights, and yes, the smells.
The farmer welcomes the students to her dairy and asks, “Do you know where milk comes from?
”Their most common answer? “The grocery store!”
This response shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider that 98% of the U.S. population are generations removed from the farm. Tours are an excellent way to better inform and educate students about something that directly affects them and their families every day: where their food comes from.
“Most of the kids have never been on a farm. They have never seen farm animals in person,” said Melissa Collman, a dairy farmer in Boring, Oregon. “And even though our dairy isn’t very far away, we are miles apart as far as what they have experienced in life.”
As you might imagine, dairy farm tours can also be a source of humor, so we asked several Oregon dairy farmers and tour guides to tell us about some of the funny things they’ve heard or experienced while leading a tour.
JAMIE BANSEN, FOREST GLEN JERSEYS
Jamie and her dog, Olive, recently hosted a large group including students who had never set foot on a farm, let alone a dairy farm. Like a quick draw in the Old West, these middle schoolers quickly reached for their smartphones to snap photos and video along the way.
Students were amazed that manure is beneficial as a source of energy, bedding and fertilizer. “So wait, cow poop can make electricity and be sold for money?” a student asked. His serious question quickly devolved into laughter as a cow demonstrated the first step of that process.
After one of the girls expressed surprise about how quiet and happy the cows seemed, she decided, “I don’t want to go back to school. I want to pet cows all day.”
STACY FOSTER, RICKREALL DAIRY
Kids have told her they want to live at her dairy and become a farmer. They also want to bring calves home … until they’re reminded that they soon turn in to large cows.
“Some are amazed that we only have cows on our farm, since the only other farmer they know is Old McDonald,” she said. When the kids ask to see the other animals, like chickens, her answer makes the parent chaperones laugh. “Those animals don’t like to be milked, so they live on a different farm.”
CASEY SCHOCH, SCHOCH DAIRY AND CREAMERY
”Many of the kids ask to see the brown cows that make the chocolate milk, she said, but followed that it isn’t just the kids who ask funny questions.
“I actually had a mom ask me in all seriousness why we don’t milk the bulls,” said Casey, “I then tried to explain that similar to human females, only female cows have the correct parts for producing milk.”
MELISSA COLLMAN, CLOUD CAP DAIRY
Beyond the innocent and funny questions like whether boy cows make milk, Melissa expressed concern that students often echo some bizarre myths about dairy farming spread on social media and blog posts.
A student approached Melissa on a tour about rumors he heard about strange ingredients in milk. “So I milked a cow in front of this little boy, and he got to see for himself,” she said. “He was shocked.”
“It’s really important that we as farmers help educate consumers and future generations,” she said. “The funny questions and comments I hear on farm tours just reaffirm that any time we spend with the kids is time well spent.”
Catch a glimpse of some children discovering a dairy farm for the very first time in the video below.
September marks the end of summer, a transition to fall and the start of a new school year. One could say that this month represents a time for change. So, it is fitting that September is Hunger Action Month – a month where individuals and organizations across the country come together to make a positive change for hungry people and families in our communities.
According to the Oregon Hunger Task Force, one out of every eight Oregonians struggle with hunger, including 20 percent of all children. Oregon currently ranks as the 12th hungriest state in the nation. In 2004, Oregon was ranked as the hungriest state. While there is still a long way to go, Oregon is making significant progress thanks in part to the generous donations of dairy foods that have helped nourish hungry families. Here are just a few examples:
There are more examples, but many go untold simply because helping others is “just the right thing to do.” Dairy farmers and processing companies in Oregon have a deep, often multi-generational commitment to the communities where they farm, work and live. During Hunger Action Month, we celebrate their year round work to fight hunger and thank the Oregon dairy community for their generosity.
On average, people served by food banks receive the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year. You can help address this unmet need by contributing to the Great American Milk Drive or join the 10-Gallon Challenge today.
July is National Ice Cream Month, and it includes a celebration of appreciation called “Scoop It Forward.” Supported by Oregon’s dairy farmers and processors, the week-long campaign, from July 15 to 22, encourages people to show appreciation for one another through random acts of ice cream.
“Ice cream is one of those things that just makes everything better, and we saw this as a simple way to bring positivity and joy to people’s lives in surprising and unexpected ways,” said Josh Thomas, Senior Director of Communications for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “Random acts of kindness can be contagious, and our call to action is simply for people to spread the good and pay it forward.”
Leading up to this week, there have already been surprise ice cream deliveries to a playground, a skate park, a police station and Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland. And that’s just the beginning. Each person who receives ice cream is encouraged to recognize at least two others with a special delivery of their own.
Suggestions include recognizing family, friends, neighbors, a favorite teacher, local police or fire departments or even complete strangers. Photos and video from these moments will be shared on social media using the hashtag #ScoopItForward. Those who aren’t able to give ice cream are encouraged to send ice cream emojis with a message of appreciation. Organizers hope the positivity will spread far and wide.
“This is such a simple gesture that anybody can do,” said Thomas. “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream, and that’s pretty close”
Guided by the “Dairy Done Right” philosophy, Tillamook County Creamery Association has earned top awards for its cheese, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream and butter. Now the dairy farmer-owned cooperative has earned a national award for its commitment to the communities where Tillamook employees live and work.
Tillamook County Creamery Association
Outstanding Community Impact Award
Among the many reasons why Tillamook rose to the top of their category:
“Tillamook exemplifies devotion to their community,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “From working to find the root cause of food insecurity to improving housing access, they are addressing large-scale issues that impact the people and the planet.”
The Outstanding Community Impact Award was the only one given in that category nationally. The announcement was made on May 16 at a special ceremony outside of Chicago, Illinois, where it was accepted by Sarah Beaubien, Tillamook’s senior director of stewardship, alongside staff and board members. True to the spirit of the award, CEO Patrick Criteser was unable to receive the award because he was in the middle of a 300-mile bike ride to raise funds and awareness to help end childhood hunger.
As James Dillard, corporate and community relations manager at the Oregon Food Bank, said, “They are not giving away money just to improve their brand rating. They really are passionate about making a difference in Oregon.”
With Tillamook’s award, Oregon went back-to-back with U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards following last year’s “Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award” for Rickreall Dairy. Also of note for 2018 was Kroger’s win for “Outstanding Dairy Processing and Manufacturing Sustainability,” which includes Oregon’s own Swan Island Dairy.
To hear Sarah Beaubien’s acceptance speech at the award ceremony, watch the video below:
by DeDe Poynor, Oregon State University Dietetic Intern
Current federal requirements help students eat a well-balanced diet with the nutrients they need as they grow. Schools must offer a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the week. They also give students whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products. Including more of the good stuff and cutting excessive salt, sugar, fat and calories helps develop healthy eating habits now and in the future.
Another role of school meals is to address child hunger. Oregon is the sixth most food insecure state in the country, with 1 in 6 households unsure of where their next meal will come from. Those kids often do not get the nutrients they need to be healthy and succeed in the classroom. Due to this, many schools around the state are looking at options outside of lunch, including breakfast and summer meal programs, to get students the food they need.
As the name implies, federal meal requirements must be met. However, deciding what to offer and how to prepare the food is up to the schools. It can be hard to find recipes and items that meet federal requirements. It is also hard to find menu items that most of the kids will eat. That is why Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs have joined forces to offer statewide culinary trainings for school nutrition staff. These trainings give tips and tools for offering things that kids will like, including local fruits and vegetables.
Oregon has been a national leader for the Farm to School Program, connecting Oregon schools with local farmers. With funding provided by the state legislature, this program has given kids opportunities to try locally grown and processed fruits and vegetables, as well as meat, dairy and whole grains. At the same time, the Farm to School Program has helped the economy by supporting Oregon businesses.
School meal programs continue to evolve with the support of students, teachers, administrators, parents and communities. School nutrition staff are bringing creative solutions to kitchens and cafeterias that maximize the available funding while keeping Oregon children full with nutritious and delicious foods.
Mary Chamberlain is a dairy farmer alongside her husband, Jason, and in-laws Warren and Lori, at Dairylain Farms in Vale, Oregon. Mary and Jason have three boys between the ages of one and seven, and she coaches a cross country running team at the local high school. We asked Mary eight questions about her life as a farmer, community volunteer, and a mother.
Why do you farm?
It’s a family tradition that goes back to our great-grandparents. I was raised on a dairy farm, and I married a dairy boy. It only made sense to work on his parent’s dairy and raise our kids to love dairy cows as much as we do. Raising calves, fostering them to cows, and giving them what they need to produce wonderful milk — that is the pretty basic description of what we do. But in reality it’s so much more.
When our first born arrived, I tried to stay home, but the farm needed an extra set of hands. I found myself pushing a stroller along as I fed calves, vaccinated cows, or checked heifers. Now on our third child, we start our mornings by heading to the barn to get milk to feed the calves, and end our day checking on the robots (we added robotic milkers last July). I’m very proud to have my boys working with us every day.
What’s life like for your kids on the farm?
They all have different levels of love for the farm and our way of life. My one-year-old just loves to watch the cows, and of course, sample their food.
My four-year-old plays for hours with his farm toys in the sandbox. Every once in a while we catch bits of his make-believe land, where he is the ‘dad’ and he drives his loader and feeds the cows. We even get hints of a girl he likes as she makes an appearance in this pretend world to feed baby calves. When he isn’t in the sandbox, he loves to follow his dad around or ride along while I check on the heifers.
Our seven-year-old is starting to connect the dots that feeding animals and taking care of them is essential for them to not just survive but to helps us survive. When an animal is born, he is one of the first to let us know, and then help his dad move her to the barn. He helps with every task on the dairy. Some he hates (he thinks feeding calves is too boring) and others he loves (like picking out animals to train for fair).
And you’re also involved in your local schools?
Yes, I’m the local cross country head coach, and I substitute teach when I can (which is a bit rare these days with a one year old). Before my boys, I ran marathons and did triathlons all over the country. These days, it’s important for me to stay fit for my sanity and my health. Coaching running is great way to give back to the community and teach kids a way to deal with their own stress and worries.
With a master’s degree in dairy science and a love for running, I’m a bit of a quirky sub. I encourage getting outside to do work. I believe there is this huge connection to moving and learning that we don’t utilize in the classroom.
How important is nutrition to your family and your cows?
As a three time mom in her 30s who still runs and bikes when she can, what’s in my food and my boys’ food is a concern. We all burn a lot of calories. I don’t want any food around that is just going to give a quick energy high and then leave me with a headache and cranky kids. Protein, carbohydrates, digestible and usable sugars, vitamins and minerals: that’s what I look for in all my food, and I try to balance the levels based on what we need and when we need it.
Good nutrition is also important to our cows. They are sort of like a pro-athlete; they will burnout if they don’t train and eat right. We feed the cows to increase milk supply naturally by giving them the correct amount of energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals (and plenty of water). We have to make sure their nutrition allows them to milk plenty but doesn’t deplete their bones and body.
Do you use antibiotics or hormones?
Out of 375 milking animals, we have only one that’s getting antibiotics right now. We use antibiotics on our dairy according to the label, and no antibiotics are allowed to enter the food supply. If she gets an antibiotic shot, her milk gets dumped.
I think there is a misconception that as dairy farmers we are constantly giving shots for sickness. Really we give very few. My one year old has received more doses of antibiotics for ear infections this winter than we gave the entire milking herd for the same four months. We all work hard to give our animals the best chance to fight colds and viruses on their own. When they can’t, we call the vet and get the medication they need.
As for hormones, cows don’t need additional hormones to make them give more milk, they have enough natural ones.
How do you take care of your cows and calves?
We feed them, ensure they are safe, healthy and comfortable, and we provide clean homes and bedding. We give the calves blankets and warm water in the winter and cold water in the summer. Sometimes when my kids are sick, it’s hard to leave the house to work at the dairy. But the cows and calves need us too.
Cows are not humans, and sometimes they can hurt or neglect their calves. So to the calves, we are their foster parents. They depend on us to understand their language, like a wagging tail and licking tongue means ‘I’m good!’ — droopy eyes and not getting up right away means something doesn’t feel right.
How do you care for the environment?
Improving the land around us is a big priority. Since we grow our own crops for the cows to eat, there is always plenty of land that could use more nutrients. We sample the soil to decide where nutrients are needed and that’s where we spread manure from our pens and barns. It’s natural, organic fertilizer.
We ensure that the water used in our barns for cooling milk is recycled, so the cows can have plenty to drink. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce waste in all forms and recycle what we can. We use solar powered electric fences to keep the heifers in, and solar powered pumps to run our pivots to keep the fields watered and the grass growing.
Are there any parting thoughts that you’d like people to know?
Just as none of us are perfect parents, there are no perfect farmers. But we honestly do the best we can do on this day, and hope for the same or better tomorrow. Every day is another chance to do even better. I trust what we do, what my neighbors do, and what our fellow friends and dairy farmers across the country do. We are proud of the quality foods that we help bring to your table and ours!
Mother’s Day Brunch Idea: Better with Berry Butter