Thursday, April 8, 2010

School Lunch WHAT is on the Menu?

The US school lunch program has recently sparked a lot media attention and debate. Many individuals and organizations are unveiling the serious issue of what kids are being fed in our public school throughout the country. Recently there has been a host of articles, blogs and even a TV show dedicated to the issue of what kids are being served for school lunch. These have all highlighted the highly processed, unhealthy and low cost approach to feeding Americas school children.

One of these initiatives is Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution” a television show airing on ABC highlighting the fact that America's kids deserve better food at schools and that Americans need to start making more fresh healthy choices to deal with the obesity issues we face. He also believes we need to keep cooking skills alive among children, school cooks and at home. Jamie recently received a TED Award to view his Talk click below

You can also sign a petition to support Jamie Oliver's “Food Revolution”. Jamie hopes to take his petition to the White House after the TV series airs, to show The President and First Lady how many people across the country really care about this and ask for their support.

Jamie Oliver “Food Revolution”:

The Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation, is currently winding its way through Congress. Now is the time to tell your Senators and Representatives that we want healthy meals for school children. Now is the time to ask for enough money to do the job right and start feeding Americans kids a healthy school lunch. Click below to email your legislator about this important issue through the Time for Lunch campaign.
Click below to read a public school teachers blog about her experience eating school lunches for a full year.

Mrs. Q’s Blog:

Click below to read an article about the letters Columbia 3rd graders recently sent to their elected officials about the lunch program they participate in.

Columbia Tribune Article:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Columbia Joins the Movement by Passing the Urban Hen Ordinance

Monday February 1st, the Columbia City Council joined a growing number of cities including Kansas City, St. Louis and Berkley, CA in allowing people to keep a small number of backyard hens. There are many benefits for raising urban hens including a healthy source of eggs, education for kids, food security for families, and a good tool for turning compost into fertilizer for gardens. These types of ordinances focusing on growing your own food are an important tool and can strengthen the local food community in small towns and large cities alike. For more information about the Columbia Urban Hen Ordinance or to learn more about the urban hen ordinances in other cities check out the links below:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Attorney General Sues Small Family Farm

Attorney General, Chris Koster has filed suite against a small family farm in Conway, MO for selling raw milk to undercover investigators in a Springfield, MO parking lot. This has sparked a heated debate about the selling and consumption of raw milk. While the consumption of raw milk has steadily increased over the years and is estimated to be over half a million, the laws have not changed and in some states it is still illegal to sell raw milk. While it is not illegal to sell raw milk in Missouri the law is such that farmers have to have a licensed permit for the State Milk Board or sell the product on farm to consumers with no permit. State Representative Belinda Harris put forth a bill this year that would clarify the state’s position on the sell of raw milk however this bill did not pass. Harris has submitted a new version of the bill this legislative session; this bill would clarify current raw milk policy and would allow the sale of unlicensed raw milk at farmers markets. It would also extend to other dairy products like butter and yogurt.

Check out the links below for information on the issue:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

“Thanksgiving the Local Way”

With Thanksgiving fast approaching many may be thinking about that Thanksgiving menu, but what about keeping that menu a little more local with products from Missouri family farmers. Missouri has a wide variety of products that are classic Thanksgiving dishes, from locally produced turkeys and squash too many great wines the possibilities are endless. For the top 10 ways to go local this Thanksgiving check out this link to, “A Taste of Missouri” blog.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Farm Aid Concert – Plays to a Sold Out Crowd

Farm Aid played to a sold out crowd in St. Louis, Sunday October 4th. Concertgoers had the opportunity to interact with family farms and learn how they can have an impact as consumers in the HOMEGROW Village. Concertgoers also enjoyed concession food, like corn on the cob, candy apples and even corn dogs all from locally identified family farms and organic ingredients. All this while listening to a great line up of artist, including Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp and Neil Young along with many others.

Check out the full article at:{9C44C02F-A808-4204-9319-A17A1124E62B}&notoc=1

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Illinois Local Food Act Signed into Law”

Illinois passes an expansive Local Food, Farms and Jobs bill. This bill creates great opportunities for family farmers throughout the state by developing an integrated system that meets the needs of the farms and the consumers. Movement like this showcases the growing demand of local foods.

Check out the article below for full details of the bill.

Governor Signs Legislation Putting Illinois on Track to Vastly Expanded Local Farm Economy
Governor Patrick Quinn today signed landmark legislation that will put the state on the road to a vastly expanded supply of Illinois-grown food for Illinois tables. During a ceremony held on the front lawn of the home of Department of Agriculture Director Tom Jennings located on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Quinn said the legislation represents an important first step in a process that could ultimately bring as much as $30 billion a year to the state’s economy.
“Agriculture is a diverse, multi-billion dollar industry that employs nearly one-quarter of the state’s workforce. Simply stated, agriculture is the largest industry in the state and vital to our economy,” said Quinn at the “Ag Day” event. “Standing in sharp contrast is the fact that nearly 96 percent of the food eaten in Illinois is grown in other states or nations. The legislation I signed today will stimulate the rapidly growing efforts across Illinois to grow food for local consumption. As traditional Illinois farmers, local food organizations, and others respond to demand for locally-grown food, there will be an enormous amount of new economic activity in our agricultural sector and thousands of new jobs across the state.”
The new law is designed to greatly increase demand for locally grown food by starting the process of building a reliable market for local food at facilities and institutions, like public schools, that receive significant state support. Also, the legislation establishes the Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Council, which will encourage farmers to grow food for local markets and facilitate the building of the systems needed to get it there.
The legislation caps almost two year’s effort by the Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force to determine the potential for Illinois to grow and produce food for consumption within the state and in neighboring states. A study released by the Task Force earlier this year, Local Food, Farms & Jobs: Growing the Illinois Economy, revealed that of the approximately $48 billion spent by Illinoisans on food each year, only a tiny fraction is grown in Illinois. A set of straightforward measures to encourage Illinois farmers to grow food for local consumption, coupled with a system for processing and transporting the food to Illinois markets could bring an estimated $30 billion to the state’s economy each year.

“I believe economic development begins in the kitchen,” said Illinois Agriculture Director Tom Jennings. “There is no question we can produce locally grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables. We also have the processing and packaging capabilities right here in our own backyard. Setting up a distribution system that moves items at reasonable cost from tree or vine to the table is the big challenge and this legislation is an important step toward realizing that goal.”
“This legislation is the first step in creating a fresh farm and food system in Illinois that will bring important benefits to every corner of our state,” said Julie Hamos (D-Evanston), lead sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives. “As Illinoisans meet the increased demand for fresh food grown within the state, every community’s economy will see the benefits. New jobs will be created as the system to process and transport the food to local markets is developed. Those who live in Illinois and in adjacent states will benefit from the increased supply of fresh, locally-produced food.”
Hamos said that one result of the expanded local food system will be the growth of rural communities through expanded numbers of small and mid-size farmers and larger numbers of people working in agriculture.
“The fact that all but a tiny percentage of the fruits, vegetables, and meats that Illinoisans eat are produced in other states or countries is an astonishing imbalance and presents us with an enormous opportunity,” said State Senate by Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), Senate sponsor of the bill. “This legislation is an important step forward that will enable farmers in the state to produce and sell fresh food in underserved communities.”

Key elements of the legislation include:

Formation of the Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Council, which will work with state agencies, Illinois businesses, organizations and citizens to build a fully functioning local farm and food system in the state.

Establishment of local food procurement goals for state agencies such as prisons and other places where the state provides food service to purchase 20 percent of their food locally by 2020. State-funded institutions such as schools and mental health centers would have a goal of 10 percent by 2020. The Council would work with the organizations and agencies to develop strategies for local purchasing.

· Creation of a local food purchase preference for state-owned food buyers in which they could pay a premium of up to 10 percent above the lowest bid in order to purchase locally grown goods.

· Implementation of a system for gathering baseline data about local food purchases that would be updated annually.

· Development of a new Illinois label and certification program to support farmers and businesses who want to be part of an Illinois-based farm and food economy.

“This legislation opens the door to a vast expansion of the local farm and food networks in Illinois’ already world-renowned agricultural infrastructure. It encourages Illinois farmers to respond directly to consumers’ demand for fresh, tasty, locally-produced foods, and shows how to do it,” said Wes Jarrell, chairman of the 32-member Task Force.” Jarrell is Professor of Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Illinois, and a farmer himself.
Jarrell noted that food production in Illinois has become a year-round industry as farmers and others adopt techniques for growing food in the winter months as well as the traditional growing seasons. “We don’t have to ship in all our fresh food from warm regions when the weather is cold,” he said, “and with a much greater diversity of cold-season fruits and vegetables, eating what's locally in season isn't nearly as boring as it used to be.”

Key findings from the task force report that led to the new legislation include:

· The market for local food is growing. The number of farmers markets in Illinois grew from 97 in 1999 to 270 in 2008. The number of community-supported agriculture organizations, which allow consumers to “subscribe” to a variety of Illinois-grown food products throughout the season, grew from 14 to 68 in the past eight years.

· Demand extends into wholesale markets. Illinois colleges and universities, as well as corporate kitchens, schools, hospitals, prisons, restaurants, and grocery stores want to buy farm products from nearby sources. Inadequate local food production and delivery channels pinch supply. Illinois’ predominant farm and food systems is designed to serve distant markets, not link farm production with in-state markets.

· Local food system development is a nationwide phenomenon. Many states are taking steps to satisfy consumer demand to know how food is produced, where, and by whom. State government’s role is to help jumpstart job creation, lending, and investment in the local food system so that entrepreneurs can grow the economy. By participating in this effort, Illinois is helping to create a new form of interstate commerce.

The legislation, HB3990: Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Act of 2009, the report of the Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force, and other information is available at

Monday, August 24, 2009

“Time for Lunch”

If would like to see more nutritious and local foods in schools around the country then join Slow Food and there movement to action on Labor Day, September 7th 2009. You can attend an “Eat-In” and support the cause.

Check out this link for the full story:

Follow these links to attend an event in your area: