michelle obama

We at FarmPlate are thrilled to have a first lady in The White House who cares enough about public health to make food a priority. She has made great strides over the past four years to put more nutritious food in schools, promote growing your own and encourage kids to be active. Do you think she's doing enough? Any suggestions for her next four years in DC? Just how much leverage does Michelle Obama have? Feel free to leave notes in the comment section below. Take Part has some thoughts on the matter. Check out this excerpt from an article on their website:  Food reform—specifically reducing the ballooning childhood obesity rate—was a priority of the First Lady and the President from...
A great new infographic from the Union of Concerned Scientists does an absolutely incredible job of showing the discrepancy between the typical American diet and the one recommended by the USDA. It also shows how subsidies to producers of the Big Five commodity crops (wheat, corn, soy, rice, and cotton) prevent U.S. farmers from planting the fruits and vegetables we need to be healthy.  The investment required to make this vital change is puny ($90 million) compared to the subsidies awarded to the producers mentioned above (over $5 billion), and the benefits to local economies could be significant. Here’s the infographic (read on below it for more from the Union of Concerned Scientists...
In 2009 the USDA issued a report to congress titled Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food – Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences. The report enhanced national awareness of food deserts, defined by the USDA as “a low-income census tract where a substantial number of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store." One year later, Michelle Obama announced her Let’s Move campaign against child obesity would take on food deserts, saying that “limited access to nutritious food and relatively easier access to less nutritious food may be linked to poor diets and, ultimately, to obesity and diet-related diseases.” USDA  Today 1 in 3 children...
Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the Grocery Manufacturers Association to emphasize the importance of producing healthy, affordable foods to reduce childhood obesity. Mrs. Obama asked that the major food manufacturers take responsibility for improving their offerings in grocery stores by improving food labels and reducing salt and fat in the products they sell. With the national consciousness trending more and more toward healthy food consumption, big businesses are taking note. Several major food companies including PepsiCo, Kraft Foods and ConAgra have since announced that significant and voluntary improvements will be made in the nutritional value of their products in...
The USDA's Know Your Famer, Know Your Food initiative has earmarked $5 million in funding from the 2010 Farmers' Market Promotion Program for grants to develop new farmers' markets and enhance existing markets, roadsides stands and CSA programs as part of Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign. USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the grant funding on a visit to New York City last Thursday, where she said, "The benefits of direct-to-consumer marketing are two-fold. Consumers are provided with fresh, healthy, affordable and locally grown products, while meeting the farmers that produce it. Farmers, on the other hand, are able to expand their economic opportunities and grow their...
Listing nutritional information on fast food could affect what parents choose for their children to eat, reports a new study to be published in the February 2010 issue of Pediatrics. The study, "Nutrition Menu Labeling May Lead to Lower-Energy Restaurant Meal Choices for Children," was conducted at a pediatric practice in Seattle, Washington. The 99 parents who participated in the study had children aged three to six years old. Participants were given photos of McDonald’s food and asked which menu items they would pick for themselves and their children. Half of the group was given menus labeled with the number of calories in each selection. Parents who saw the calorie-labeled food items...
Cristeta Comerford, the first woman and first Filipino-American to be named White House Executive Chef, put another feather in her chef's hat on Sunday night by winning Iron Chef America's Super Chef Battle. With help from her teammate Bobby Flay, Comerford took down cooking show royalty Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali. After working as an assistant chef during the Clinton administration, Comerford was appointed to the prestigious role of White House Executive Chef in 2005 by former First Lady Laura Bush and was reappointed to the position by First Lady Michelle Obama, who appreciated Comerford’s dedication to healthy cooking. Comerford is the first White House chef to compete on the Food...
Nineteen inches of snow and the White House Kitchen Garden is still growing. Fresh off the success of the fall harvest, Michelle Obama's garden was prepped for the winter growing season with hoop houses just days before this weekend's record snowfall. A hoop house is constructed using metal bars and then stretching fabric or plastic tightly around the outside of the structure, creating a temporary energy-efficient greenhouse. The sun warms the hoop house, and the structure protects and insulates crops from snow and frost. Hoop houses also improve soil and water quality. Volunteers and USDA staff planted spinach, lettuce, carrots, mustard greens, chard and cabbage, as well as a crop of rye...
In an op-ed article for the New York Times, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof points out that although Steven Hentges of the American Chemistry Council dismisses the results of BPA testing, many studies show links between BPA and adverse health effects, including reproductive abnormalities, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes and heart disease. According to Consumer Reports, an FDA special scientific advisory panel reported in 2008 that the agency’s standard for BPA levels was inadequate and should be re-evaluated. Bills are currently pending in Congress that would ban the use of BPA in all food and beverage containers. Until changes are made to...
Mrs. Obama is a strong advocate for healthy lifestyle habits, especially for children. In addition to the vegetable garden, she’s hula hooped to promote exercise and appeared on Sesame Street to teach kids about farming basics. Tours of the The WHOFarm are available to elementary, middle and high school students in the Washington DC area, free of charge. Regional News Oct. 28: The historic building housing Leunig's Bistro on Church Street in Burlington, VT, will install solar panels in early 2010. Seven Days Oct. 31: More details emerge on the shutdown of a Grand Isle, VT, slaughterhouse. WCAX Oct. 31: Cabot Creamery in Cabot, VT, gave open farm tours for the first time to raise awareness...