Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Economic Impact Analysis of Pilot Program Shows a Nearly 2 to 1 Multiplier for Every Dollar Invested in Local Food for the Lunchroom
PORTLAND, Ore., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- As state lawmakers search for ways to immediately stimulate Oregon's malnourished economy, a new economic impact analysis proves that investing in locally produced foods for the school lunchroom fortifies the state's economy with dollars previously spent elsewhere.
A preliminary analysis of the impact of investing school food dollars in the local food economy was released today by Ecotrust. The analysis was conducted as part of a rigorous review of the local buying practices currently underway in two public school districts in Oregon, Gervais and Portland, where school foodservice directors are using a philanthropic investment made by the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at the Northwest Health Foundation to test the impact of proposed "farm to school" policies currently being debated in the Oregon Legislature.
Much like the legislation currently under consideration, the Kaiser Permanente grant allocates funds on a per meal basis (seven cents per lunch served) to a combined total of 91 schools in Gervais and Portland for the express purpose of buying more Oregon grown, processed and manufactured food for the lunchroom. Early results indicate that over a 14 week time period (mid Sept. - Dec. 2008), the two districts received $66,193 in Kaiser Permanente grant funds. Those funds, in turn, catalyzed $225,869 in local purchasing.
The data reveal three key findings. First, as researchers predicted, a small amount of money can leverage much greater investment in local purchasing, as the Kaiser Permanente grant dollars encouraged a 72 percent increased investment in local foods. Second, an input-output analysis was used to estimate the economic benefits of these purchases to the Oregon economy and shows that for every food dollar spent locally by the two school districts, an additional 87 cents was spent in Oregon, generating a multiplier of 1.87 for farm to school spending. Finally, research confirms that the economic benefits of investments made in the Oregon agricultural community trigger successive spending in almost every sector of the Oregon economy. The analysis revealed that dollars spent in Oregon agriculture reverberated into 401 of 409 of the state's economic sectors. Researchers will continue to study the effects of local buying practices throughout the remainder of the school year, but believe data from the first three months of the pilot project provide early signs of success.
"This research confirms that farm to school programs are a viable investment that can make an immediate impact on nearly every sector of our state's economy," said Deborah Kane, vice president of the Food and Farms program for Ecotrust. "We knew the effort would likely benefit the Oregon agricultural community, and of course Oregon's children. We were encouraged to learn that the benefits extend far beyond the most obvious."
The study has identified other benefits as well. In Gervais, Kaiser Permanente grant dollars allowed schools to offer a greater variety of fresh fruits and vegetables than had been served in the prior year. Increased demand for local products expanded market opportunities for more than two dozen Oregon farmers, food processors and manufacturers. In Portland, community partnerships blossomed to support the changes taking place in the cafeteria, with area grocery stores championing school food improvements as part of the grant. And once schools introduced a new menu item, such as a locally produced salsa, the demand and popularity of the product grew and it did not go away after a single serving.
"The extra investment in our lunch program gave us tremendous purchasing power, so that across the board, products that we had been buying outside of Oregon - apples, beef, chili, cheese, corn - we were able to source locally," said Kristy Obbink, nutrition services director, Portland Public Schools District. "This demonstrates how we can take a few cents and sprinkle it over the entire school meal and drive way more money into the Oregon economy."
As the farm to school pilot program continues in two districts, interest and momentum for sourcing local in the lunchroom is growing statewide as indicated in a recent poll of Oregon foodservice directors conducted by Ecotrust. From Coos Bay to Milton-Freewater, from Woodburn to Medford, survey participants self-reported that if given an additional 15 cents per for every lunch served in their district, they would seek out Oregon grown, processed or manufactured products, with a particular interest in fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables, dairy products, beef and bakery products. Of those districts that completed the survey, 88 percent were currently buying some local products for the lunch room, but reported that the number one barrier to purchasing more local products is limited funds.
HB 2800 Would Fund Farm to School Statewide and Generate Revenue to the State
On the heels of the positive results of the study, Ecotrust and partners, is working with State Representatives Tina Kotek (D - North/Northeast Portland) and Brian Clem (D - Salem) to introduce a bill this legislative session (HB 2800) to fund ongoing farm to school efforts statewide. HB 2800 builds upon the existing farm to school infrastructure, which was cast in place during the 2007 legislative session and 2008 special session, and requests $22.6 million during the 2009 fiscal biennium, an investment that organizers forecast will provide a two-fold return in economic impact statewide.
"Given the current economic climate and the Legislature's focus on stimulating Oregon's economy, funding farm to school programs in the state is a risk-free investment and proven to return more dollars to the local economy and help shore up agricultural and food-related jobs," said Clem.
For every meal served, HB 2800 proposes to provide state funding in the amounts of seven cents per breakfast and 15 cents per lunch so that school districts can invest in Oregon grown, processed and manufactured foods for use in school cafeterias. In order for school districts to access state funds made available by HB 2800 to support local purchases, districts must first demonstrate a one-to-one-match using federal funds through the USDA's National School Lunch and Breakfast program. By leveraging existing federal dollars, the economic impact on Oregon's agriculture and food manufacturing sectors will be compounded. The bill also provides grant funds to support agriculture- and food-based curriculum and garden-based education.
Ecotrust's mission is to inspire fresh thinking that creates social equity, economic opportunity, and environmental well-being. Over nearly 20 years, Ecotrust has converted $60 million in grants into more than $300 million in capital for local people, businesses, and organizations from Alaska to California. Ecotrust is a new kind of organization, one that integrates public and private purpose and for-profit and non-profit structures. Ecotrust's many innovations include co-founding the world's first environmental bank, starting the world's first ecosystem investment fund, creating a range of programs in fisheries, forestry, food, farms and children's health, and developing new scientific and information tools to improve social, economic and environmental decision-making. Ecotrust works locally in ways that promise hope abroad, and it honors and incorporates the wisdom of native and first nation knowledge in its work. More on the Web at www.ecotrust.org.
Ecotrust's Food and Farms program endeavors to make sustainability the underlying value of the mainstream food system; the norm, not the exception. In close collaboration with a diverse coalition of project partners, Ecotrust works on a wide-range of initiatives to promote "farm to school" programs that enable schools to feature locally sourced products in their cafeterias, incorporate nutrition-based curriculum in all academic disciplines, and provide students with experiential agriculture and food-based learning opportunities, from farm visits to gardening, cooking, composting, and recycling. Our approach is multifaceted and includes: combating obesity, hunger, and global climate change; supporting Pacific Northwest farmers and food processors, both big and small; and enhancing regional economic development and community food security. We work at the local, state, and regional levels. http://www.ecotrust.org/farmtoschool/
About the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund
The Kaiser Permanente Community Fund (KPCF) at Northwest Health Foundation was established in late 2004 to advance the health of the communities served by Kaiser Permanente Northwest. The Fund intends to achieve this goal by addressing those factors in the social, policy, and physical environment that impact community health. Often referred to as the social determinants of health, these factors have been shown to play a major role in the development of health disparities based on race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. http://www.nwhf.org/index.php?/apply/kaiser
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Memo fron Northwest Food Processors Association President: SUPPORT LOCAL FOOD PROCESSORS and INCREASE JOBS IN OREGON
March 18, 2009
Re: Video Highlights Importance of Oregon Food Processors to State Economy – Only Manufacturing Sector to Create Jobs in 2008
In the midst of a global downturn financial analysts have called the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Oregon’s food processing industry was the one bright spot in WorkSource Oregon’s gloomy 2008 Job Report.
In 2008, food manufacturing added 1,800 jobs statewide, a 7.9 percent increase – at a time when the manufacturing sector as a whole showed an 8.3 percent decline. Oregon wood product manufacturing lost 4,700 jobs in 2008, semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing lost 2,400 jobs and transportation equipment manufacturing lost 4,100 jobs, according to WorkSource Oregon’s year-end report. The state as a whole shed more than 58,000 non-farm jobs in 2008, a 3.4 percent decrease.
Food processing was the only manufacturing sector in Oregon to show positive employment gain in 2008, the Oregon Employment Department reported.
What factors are responsible for the food processing industry’s strong showing? In part, it’s because during challenging economic times, consumers tend to focus spending on basic goods and services. But the state can also thank a forward-thinking Legislature, which, in 2006, provided funding for Northwest Food Processors Innovation Productivity Center (IPC), a collaborative effort to increase competitiveness and innovation for Oregon’s food processing industry.
A new video highlights the crucial importance of the food processing industry to Oregon’s economy, as well as IPC’s innovation efforts: “Everybody Must Eat: Sustaining Oregon’s Food Processing Industry.” To view the video, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esMEwC7jzFg, or email NWFPA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With $3.4 billion in annual revenues, 18,000 workers, a $542 million annual payroll and a heritage that spans more than 150 years, food processing is Oregon’s third-largest industry, trailing only high-tech and forest products in its statewide economic impact.
Organized in 1914, Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) serves as an advocate for members’ interests and a resource for enhancing their competitive capabilities. NWFPA provides services to over 450 member companies. IPC is a non-profit funded by the Oregon Legislature to help shape the future of the food industry by: enhancing organizational productivity, enabling innovation, training industry leaders of today and tomorrow, and helping companies use all of the best available resources. IPC is part of the Oregon Innovation Plan and is a subsidiary organization of the NWFPA.
David Zepponi, PresidentNorthwest Food Processors Association
8338 NE Alderwood Road, Suite 160Portland, OR 97220
503/327-2200 Main • 503/327-2208 Direct503/572-6531 Cell
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Thursday, March 19
7:00 - 9:30 am
8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Short Courses and Field Trips
1:00 - 6:00 pm
3:00 - 5:00 pm
Opening Plenary: The Voices of Youth
5:00 - 6:00 pm
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Friday, March 20
7:30 am - 5:00 pm
8:30 - 10:00 am
Plenary: Leading Sustainable Social Change - Working Across Differences
10:00 - 10:30 am
10:30 am - Noon
Regional Meetings/Organizational Meetings
Noon - 1:45 pm
Lunch and Speaker, Katie Wilson
Youth Mentorship Lunch
1:45 - 3:15 pm
Workshop Session 1
3:15 - 3:45 pm
3:45 - 5:15 pm
Workshop Session 2
5:15 - 6:15 pm
Book Talk with Joel Berg
Dinner on your own
Saturday, March 21
7:30 am - 5:00 pm
8:30 - 10:30 am
Plenary: Building the Foundations of Local Food
10:30 - 10:45 am
10:45 am - Noon
Workshop Session 3: Open Session
Noon - 2:00 pm
Lunch on your own
2:00 - 3:30 pm
Workshop Session 4
3:30 - 4:00 pm
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Workshop Session 5
6:30 - 9:30pm
Reception and Keynote with Joan Dye Gussow
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Taking “Mystery Meat” Out Of School Lunches
Mar 12th, 2009
by Dennis Newman.
From a busy kitchen in Northeast Salem, Evann Remington and her staff are trying to revolutionize what kids eat at school.
Goodbye, “mystery meat”. Say “hello” to organic, local, and sustainable.
It all started when Remington was looking for a daycare center for her young daughter. She wanted a place that served organic lunches and snacks. After not finding any, she started up Organic Fresh Fingers, a company that prepares meals from local, organic foods and delivers them to schools and daycare centers.
V.P. For Product Development Kurt Lucas preparing meals.
At first, Remington was head chef, delivery driver and chief bottle washer. Her customers were a mere handful of daycare facilities. Less than two years later she’s President and CEO of a business with 13 employees, serving up 20,000 organic meals a month, and expects to ring up sales of around $600,000.
Remington says the produce comes from a cooperative of organic farmers across Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. The cheese and milk comes from an organic dairy near Salem. For her, it’s not just a business but a mission to help build community supported agriculture.
Most of her 25 clients are private schools and daycares. Remington says demand from parents for better quality food is helping her business grow. These private facilities, she says, realize that by serving organic meals it sets them apart from the crowd.
Organic Fresh Fingers Frozen Meals
Getting her meals into public schools is a tougher sell. Portland Public Schools use a burrito filling from Organic Fresh Fingers about every three weeks. Kristy Obbink, Director of Nutrition Services for PPS says price is the main barrier to getting more organic food in school cafeterias. Obbink says Portland has about $1.15 to spend for every meal it serves. A meal from Organic Fresh Fingers can run as high as $2.68.
Not that any of this deters Remington. She hopes increased spending on school nutrition by the Obama Administration will help make organic lunches more affordable. There’s also a bill before the Oregon legislature for a new state subsidy to support school nutrition.
As for the students who eat the meals, Remington says it’s the right of all kids, “to have access to high quality, clean and nutritious food.”
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
For over 95 years, The Madeleine has offered an exceptional values-based education. Thousands of young people have passed through the school doors and emerged with both a solid educational foundation, and a deeper commitment to their faith, families and community.
And NOW - The Madeleine School is working hard to incorporate more fresh, local, natural and organic, nutritious food into their hot lunch program with the help of Organic Fresh Fingers...WAY TO GO!
Friday, March 6, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
How to make sure these are provided in your child's school or daycare? Request Organic Fresh Fingers as your meal provider!
U.S. school meals may be key to better child health
Thursday, December 18, 2008 By Christopher Doering
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Many American children are not eating enough fruit and vegetables and their diet lacks key nutrients, according to a report released on Wednesday that focuses on school food programs as a way to help prevent long-term health problems.
School kids in the United States are getting too many calories from solid fats found in foods such as pizza and hamburgers, and sugars from candy and soda, said the report by the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academies.
"Most Americans, not just children, are not eating as balanced a diet as we want," said Virginia Stallings, a professor at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and chair of the committee that conducted the review.
"There are so few times where we have an opportunity to touch every child's life," she said in an interview.
The Institute of Medicine conducted the review of the country's school breakfast and lunch programs at the request of the U.S. Agriculture Department, which oversees them. School meal programs provide 40 million meals daily and more than half of a student's food and nutrient intake during the school day.
Child nutrition programs, including school lunch and breakfast, are due for reauthorization by Congress in 2009.
Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, has said more emphasis should be put on getting more healthier and fresher foods into school meals.
Tom Vilsack, who was nominated for Secretary of Agriculture by President-elect Barack Obama on Wednesday, said the USDA "must place nutrition at the center of all food assistance programs administered by the department."
The 192-page review found children aged 5-18 ate 50 percent or less of the vegetables recommended by the U.S. government's dietary guidelines, and fruit intake was 50 percent or less than the suggested amount for kids 9-18 years old.
Children also consume too much sodium as well as calories from solid fats and added sugars, the report said.
Officials at the USDA are updating the nutrition and meal requirements used for school breakfast and lunch programs, and looked for recommendations from the Institute of Medicine.
Efforts to overhaul school nutrition programs come as obesity among children has been steadily rising.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 13.9 percent of children aged 2 to 5, 18.8 percent of those aged 6 to 11, and more than 17 percent of those 12 to 19 are overweight.
School meals are often better than what kids get on their own or bring from home, but breakfast and lunch programs need to work on reducing fat and sodium, said Jim Weill of the Food Research and Action center, an anti-hunger group.
"School meals are absolutely essential not just to reduce hunger, but to kids' health," Weill said. "Obesity has helped focus attention that school meals should be better."
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