March is National Nutrition Month

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Volume 3, Issue 6, February 28, 2017

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
National Nutrition Month 2017

Celebrate National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month, created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, promotes the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity for everyone. This year's theme, "Put Your Best Fork Forward" reminds us that making small changes count towards our overall health. So why not take a small step towards the farm to school movement by adding more local food items to a school menu or visiting a local farm. Don't forget, March 8, 2017 is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day. Let's celebrate our food and nutrition experts who are dedicated to improving the health and wellness of our communities. What are you doing this month to celebrate? Here are 36 Ideas to Get Involved in National Nutrition Month, 16 Event Ideas for Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day and 10 Facts About Local Food in Schools.

Dietetic Interns

USDA and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Join Forces

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics administers internships for dietetic students interested in becoming Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. With the passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, regulations for Child Nutrition Programs have increased. This is an opportunity for dietetic interns to utilize their knowledge and work with State Child Nutrition Agencies to enhance resources and provide additional technical assistance. Read USDA Child Nutrition Program to Dietetic Interns: We Need to Talk!

JuliAnna Arnett

Office of Community Food Systems Welcomes JuliAnna Arnett

We are excited to welcome JuliAnna Arnett to USDA's Office of Community Food Systems as the Farm to School Regional Lead in the Western Region. In her most recent role, JuliAnna designed and led implementation of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded intervention at the County of San Diego, where she crafted nutrition standards to help shift the county’s more than $10 million in annual food purchases towards healthier, more sustainable, and less processed options. JuliAnna has served on a number of obesity prevention and food systems committees, including the California Food Policy Council, California Farm to School Network, and California Health Care Without Harm Healthy Food in Healthcare Team. Prior to moving to San Diego in 2007, JuliAnna traveled the country as an AmeriCorps Volunteer. She cannot wait to advance farm to school activities in the Western Region.


FoodCorps hands on-learning activities triple the amount of fruits and vegetables students eat

FoodCorps, associated with the AmeriCorps service network, connects kids to healthy food in schools by using hands-on lesson plans, healthy school meals, and creating a school-wide culture of health. In this school year alone, they have introduced 212 new foods and built 203 gardens. Learn more about the impact FoodCorps is having on our nation's kids.


Slow Food USA Releases NEW Garden Curriculum

Slow Food USA gathers likely and unlikely allies to transform the way we produce, consume, and enjoy food. Clean, the second garden curriculum released by Slow Food USA, teaches youth about gardening for sustainability. Students from kindergarten to high school can learn how plants grow and participate in activities that promote curiosity and help develop critical thinking skills. Check out Slow Food USA's garden curriculum by downloading Good: Enjoying the Pleasures of Healthy and Delicious Food and Clean: Gardening for Sustainability.

Slow Food USA

Grantee Spotlight

Youth carrying plants
Nutrition education at Merchant's Garden

Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) and Merchant's Garden are putting their best fork forward! Tucson Unified School District is the recipient of a 2016 Farm to School Implementation grant and is collaborating with Merchant's Garden to bring local produce to all 88 schools in the district. Merchant's Garden is situated on the campus of an abandoned school offering 10,000 square feet of commercial greenhouse space including an aquaponics greenhouse that produces 1,000 pounds of edible greens per day. In addition to serving 88 schools with over 43,000 students, Merchant's Garden distributes local foods to restaurants, hospitals, and consumers in Southern Arizona. TUSD has been able to leverage this partnership to develop complementary programs and raise grant-based support that helped create a Nutrition Education Field Trip Station, a modular classroom that supports students with hands-on learning and taste-testing of nutritional foods. Watch these videos to learn about Local Agriculture - Sustainable Farming in Tucson and Aquaponics & Hydroponics Local Food - Desert Growing.