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Staying Up-beet in Minnesota!

Secretary Perdue has proclaimed September “National Food Safety Education Month (PDF, 346 KB)“. To celebrate, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is developing innovative food safety trainings for school nutrition professionals and honoring training graduates like Barbara Griffiths MSBA, RD, SNS, who make safe and nutritious foods a priority in their programs.  As a graduate of USDA’s Produce Safety University, Griffiths has learned to source local fruits and vegetables from growers within her community and turn them into innovative menu items!

Beginning Farmer Kick Starts Operation to Provide Local Produce Year-Round

It’s been two years since Regina Villari, of Sewell, N.J., stepped into unchartered territory. Her idea was so different that no one else in her New Jersey town was doing it.

“I was intrigued by the operation,” said Villari. “I always wanted to have my own business and I wanted to do something in the local community that could provide fresh, local produce all year round.”

That something turned out to be a hydroponic greenhouse. Hydroponics uses nutrient-rich water instead of soil to grow lettuce, herbs, tomatoes and other vegetables.  The greenhouse allows Villari to grow the crops year round, feeding thousands of people throughout the state.

Connecting Schoolchildren to Healthy Food Choices

Last month, schools all across the nation celebrated National School Lunch Week, honoring the importance of healthy meals to education.  I was able to join in one of these celebrations right here in the national Capital area, and the great things I saw at Takoma Park (Md.) Middle School are still fresh in my mind.

I was already aware of the commitment that the Division of Nutrition and Food Services of Montgomery County Public Schools has made to serving healthy meals, as well some of the important strides they have taken across this large district.  But on this trip, I wanted to see first-hand how Takoma Park Principal Alicia Teeny and her teaching staff connect children in the classroom to healthy food choices.