CONSUMER TRENDS A Love for Local America’s “locavore” movement continues to blossom, and it’s not just a trend perpetuated by those who grow their own gardens or regularly shop at farmers’ markets. According to a study done by A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm, 70% of shoppers are willing to pay more for locally sourced food in their grocery stores, whether it’s a mom-and-pop shop or big-box retailer. The locavore study found that consumers rank farmers’ markets and farms as the most trustworthy sources of local food, followed by natural food markets. Locally owned supermarkets ranked in the middle of the pack, while national grocery store chains, big-box retailers and online grocers are considered the least-trustworthy sources. Customers craving a farm-to-table experience say they are willing to shell out the cash in order to support the local economy and improve the sustainability of their food choices. In fact, 30% of today’s locavores are so committed to this philosophy that they would switch stores if local foods weren’t available for purchase. If you’re interested in increasing your own consumption of locally sourced foods, take a few minutes to become a savvier consumer. While there’s no official definition for “local” food, a common standard is to seek items that are grown or produced within a 100-mile radius. Research the foods grown within that area, as well as the growing seasons. When in doubt, ask the store manager about a food’s origins to make informed decisions. To read more about the local food movement and A.T. Kearney’s study, visit http://tinyurl.com/localfoodmovement. FUNDRAISING Kickstarting a New Era Had any bright ideas lately? Even if you haven’t, through “crowdfunding” you can play a critical role in bringing some of the most innovative projects to the retail shelf, American stage or movie theatre near you. Crowdfunding is one of the economy’s hottest buzzwords—it refers to the process of funding a project through donations made by a large number of people. Taking traditional fundraising efforts to a new technological level, crowdfunding is nearly always done via the Internet through sites such as Indiegogo, Crowdfunder and the granddaddy of them all, Kickstarter. The latter is the world’s largest crowdfunding platform, which The New York Times referred to as “the people’s [National Endowment for the Arts]” for its commitment to funding creative projects, including films, music, theatre, journalism, technology and video games. While some of the specifics vary from site to site, the crowdfunding process goes a little something like this: When someone has an idea for a creative project, he or she uploads the details and proposes a funding goal and deadline. From there, the project creators must market their proposal successfully; Kickstarter—and many other crowdfunding platforms—is an all-ornothing game, which means that if the project doesn’t reach its funding goal, the money is returned to the people who donated it. For its part, Kickstarter takes 5% of the funds raised if the project is successful, but it doesn’t take any claim of ownership in the final project. People who donate don’t get an ownership stake, either, but they typically get the finished product or other perks or rewards that are established in the original “ask.” Since its inception in 2009, Kickstarter has played host to 50,000 successfully funded projects through the donations of more than 5 million people. Of course, not every project proposed on Kickstarter makes it to its goal; as of July 2013, the success rate was approximately 44%. But some of those successful stories, well, they’re pretty incredible. Take, for example, the Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android (pictured above), one of the first products in an emerging trend of smart watches and the most-funded project ever on Kickstarter. Within two hours of going live, it reached its $100,000 funding goal. Within six days, it reached $4.7 million. When the project closed, it had $10.27 million in funding from nearly 70,000 backers. [Editors’ Note: Read more about the Pebble and other cutting-edge consumer technology on page 26.] Another very successful Kickstarter project is the upcoming “Veronica Mars” movie, due in March, which raised more than $5.5 million through 91,500 funders. Could this be a new means for funding a project for your school nutrition operation? Quite possibly, as different types of organizations are refreshing their traditional approaches to fundraising. For example, in October, the news media reported the story of an Oakland, Calif., neighborhood that used crowdfunding to pay for private security guards to address rising crime. Maybe crowdfunding will be a way that you can raise money for a school garden or nutrition education project in your community! In the meantime, to browse through current projects in need of funding, visit www.kickstarter.com. Who knows—you just might be part of “the next big thing.” THE FISHY TRUTH Eat Fish, Live Longer? The case for consuming more omega-3 fatty acids has gotten stronger, thanks to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Although omega-3s long have been acclaimed for protecting your heart, this is the first time researchers have touted their ability to lengthen your life. The study, done jointly by researchers at the University of Washington and Harvard School of Public Health, monitored the effect of regular consumption of oily fish by healthy adults over age 65 for 16 years. Oily fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, include salmon, trout, herring and anchovies. Researchers found that adults who had higher blood levels of omega-3s not only lived an average of 2.2 years longer, they also had a 35% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Those who had the most drastic improvement in blood levels of omega-3s were those who went from consuming absolutely no oily fish to eating an average of 400 milligrams per day. This translates to eating about 3.5 ozs. of salmon per week, 5 ozs. of anchovies or herring or 15 to 18 ozs. of cod or catfish. Once you’re eating fish two times a week, benefits don’t seem to increase by consuming more—or by consuming extra omega-3s from fish oil supplements. None of the study participants consumed such supplements, so its effect was not tested, nor were other sources of omega-3s such as flaxseed or walnuts. To view the abstract of the study, visit http://tinyurl.com/omega3study. If you’re interested in boosting your consumption of oily fish, but just aren’t sure how to include it in your meal plan, a first step to try is this easy method for cooking salmon: Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil lightly with cooking spray or a dash of olive oil to prevent sticking. Place the salmon skin side down (if not using a skinless filet) and sprinkle it with salt, pepper and other favorite flavoring (such as dill, minced garlic or a drizzle of lemon juice). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the flesh flakes easily when poked with a fork. LEADERSHIP Cooking up Certain Success When it comes to the school nutrition profession, we always have a recipe— even a recipe for being a good leader! Take a look at some of the required ingredients for effectively leading your team at school, in your district or in your SNA chapter: Responsibility. Assume responsibility for everything you say and do. Take the blame for your mistakes and learn from them—don’t blame others. No one wants to be around someone who is always negative, and they surely don’t want to follow a negative person. Credit. Give your staff and others the credit and praise they deserve. Hold people accountable, but protect your team. Be compassionate when sharing the results of individual performance evaluations; always start out with the positive. When reviewing areas for improvement, be collaborative in identifying potential solutions and strategies. Vision. Declare and share your vision, courage and commitment. Emphasize the value of long-term goals. Where do you hope to be next year? What about five years from now? After identifying these goals, communicate them to your staff. Check in on your progress and adjust your approach as necessary. Teamwork. Encourage teamwork and active participation. Prove that you are not asking staff to do anything you aren’t willing to do yourself. Empowerment. Empower your staff to make decisions. If they make a bad one, review it together and discuss options that might have been more appropriate. A good leader shouldn’t spend time micromanaging. Train your team members to make good decisions. Communication. Communicate and listen. Watch the way you sit and stand. Your body language tells others a lot about you. Guard against sending unintentional signals. Crossing your arms across your chest might be comfortable, but it makes you look closed off and judgmental. Professional image. How you dress will affect others’ perception of you as a professional. As soon as you rise in the morning, think of the image you want to present and dress and act accordingly. Adapted with permission by Lynette Rock, SNS, 2013-14 California School Nutrition Association (CSNA) president, and Poppy Seeds, the official journal of CSNA. OBESITY The New Disease on the Block Obesity certainly isn’t a new health condition, but thanks to the American Medical Association (AMA), it now has a new classification. Once considered a risk factor for other diseases, obesity is now labeled a disease in and of itself—and that could mean a keener eye on how physicians can successfully treat it, as well as additional support from insurers to pay for these treatments. More than 35% of adults in the United States are classified as obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning they have a bodymass index (BMI) of 30 or above. As of 2008, medical costs associated with obesity topped $147 billion; diseases that are considered related to obesity include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. “Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” said AMA board member Patrice Harris, MD, in a press release. But the declaration, bound to be divisive, went against the recommendation of the organization’s Council on Science and Public Health, which suggested that the tool to measure obesity—a person’s BMI, which compares height to weight—is flawed. It’s important to note that AMA’s declaration has no legal authority, and the classification of obesity as a disease is more of an issue of semantics. Still, it’s likely to carry…um…weight with health insurance providers, some of which—including Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit—currently do not cover weightloss drugs or treatments. To read more about this and other policies and recommendations that AMA adopted at its annual meeting last June, visit http://tinyurl.com/AMApolicies. FOOD SAFETY Top Contamination Culprits? Think you know the food items most likely to cause foodborne illness? Maybe you think it’s spoiled shellfish or undercooked beef. Mayobased dishes held at improper temperatures? Poorly washed cantaloupe? What’s making more than 9 million people sick every year? According to a study published in a 2013 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, you’re most likely to get sick from leafy vegetables, such as spinach, which have been contaminated with the norovirus more than any other type of food. Of course, norovirus is only one type of foodborne illness. So, some blame falls on poultry as the No. 1 perilous protein source. Between 1998 and 2008, nearly 1,500 people died from foodborne illnesses, and approximately 19% of these cases—278 total—were associated with listeria and salmonella found in poultry. Despite such scary statistics revealed by the study, which was completed jointly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Home Food Safety Program (a joint initiative between the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods), scientists say the “per-dinner risk”—that is, the likelihood you’ll contract an illness at each meal—is very low. Practice the same food handling procedures you apply at school with your home-cooked meals, as well. This includes washing all produce and chopping it on a separate cutting board from meat; discarding the outer leaves of lettuce and other leafy vegetables; ensuring meat is tightly wrapped when purchased and double-bagging it at check-out to avoid contamination; storing meat at 40°F or below and discarding or freezing it within an appropriate time span; defrosting meat only in a fridge or microwave; and being mindful of the food safety temperature zone for all hot and cold menu items. Visit www.homefoodsafety.org for alerts, demonstration videos, tips and more. Nutrı NET Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics www.eatright.org/kids Though this resource is primarily targeted to parents, much of the content also has value for school nutrition operators and/or could be featured in materials sent home to parents. Featured sections of the website include “Cook Healthy,” “Eat Right” and “Shop Smart,” and numerous articles, tips, recipes and how-to videos are available. Special sections are geared to the needs of different age groups, from babies to teens. DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program http://tinyurl.com/fresh fruitvegprog This is an updated website to provide more resources to schools and vendors using the Department of Defense’s (DoD) procurement option for USDA Foods. It features an Excel document of all participating vendors, along with contact information for state agencies, farm-to-school coordinators and DoD regional representatives. A history of the program and details on how it works also are included. Soyfoods Council www.soyfoodscouncil.com Foodservice operators and others who want to learn how soyfoods can help solve K-12 menu challenges can turn to the resources on this website. Recipes, brochures, nutritional information and video tutorials are among the featured content, plus the Soyfoods 101 Curriculum Guide and the “Soy Good Health Information” section. Calendar14 Jan14 JAN. 19-21 39th Winter Fancy Food Show®, National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc. San Francisco, (212) 482-6440 JAN. 22-24 82nd Winter Meeting, The United States Conference of Mayors Washington, D.C., (202) 293-7330 JAN. 26-29 Dairy Forum 2014, International Dairy Foods Association Desert Springs, Calif., (202) 737-4332 JAN. 28-30 International Poultry Exposition, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association Atlanta, (678) 514-1977 Feb14 FEB. 6-8 Annual Conference, National Association of Secondary School Principals Dallas, (703) 860-0200 FEB. 7-10 Annual Meeting & Management Workshop, North American Association of Foodservice Equipment Manufacturers New Orleans, (312) 821-0201 FEB. 13-15 2014 National Conference on Education, American Association for School Administrators Nashville, (703) 528-0700 FEB. 22-25 Annual Convention, International Franchise Association New Orleans, (202) 662-8000 FEB. 22-26 2014 Convention, American Frozen Food Institute San Diego, Calif., (703) 821-0770 Mar14 MAR. 2-4 2014 National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, Food Research and Action Center Washington, D.C., (202) 986-2200 MAR. 12-14 Building a Healthier Future Summit, Partnership for a Healthier America Washington, D.C., (202) 842-9001 MAR. 17-19 2014 Annual Conference, Produce for Better Health Foundation Scottsdale, Ariz., (302) 235-2329 Date BOOK January Family Fit Lifestyle Month National Poverty in America Awareness Month National Skating Month National Soup Month Universal Letter Writing Week (Jan. 8-14) Healthy Weight Week (Jan. 19-25) New Year’s Day (Jan. 1) Radio Broadcasting Anniversary (Jan. 13) Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 20) Penguin Awareness Day (Jan. 20) February American Heart Month Black History Month Library Lovers’ Month National Cherry Month National Children’s Dental Health Month National Grapefruit Month National Hot Breakfast Month Youth Leadership Month Women’s Heart Week (Feb. 1-7) National School Counseling Week (Feb. 3-7) Super Bowl XLVIII (Feb. 2) Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) Presidents’ Day (Feb. 17) Love Your Pet Day (Feb. 20) National Cook a Sweet Potato Day (Feb. 22) International Polar Bear Day (Feb. 27) National Chili Day (Feb. 27) March National Ethics Awareness Month National Frozen Food Month Women’s History Month National School Breakfast Week (Mar. 3-7) Iditarod Begins (Mar. 1) Dr. Seuss’ Birthday (Mar. 2) Mardi Gras (Mar. 4) Registered Dietitian Day (Mar. 12) St. Patrick’s Day (Mar. 17) Spring Begins (Mar. 20) World Water Day (Mar. 22) Enter to WIN Names of FAME Sandra Ford, SNS, director of food and nutrition services for Manatee County School District in Bradenton, Fla., and SNA Past President, has been named the 2014 Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year in the 25th annual FAME (Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence) awards competition. Ford was selected for her outstanding achievements in leadership, spirit/dedication, innovation, career awards, management systems, humanitarianism/community involvement and bettering the lives of students. Five other school nutrition winners were recognized by the FAME selection panel, which included winners of the 2013 competition, as well as the editors of School Nutrition and other trade publications, plus SNA President Leah Schmidt, SNS. The 2014 FAME Awards are made possible with the generous support of Basic American Foods, Schwan’s Food Services, Inc., and Tyson Foods, Inc. Constance Little, SNS, supervisor of student nutrition services, Beavercreek (Ohio) City Schools, was named winner of the Silver Leadership Award. The Silver Spirit Award went to Reginald Ross, former area supervisor, Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Schools, and Anna Apoian, foodservice director, Hawthorne (Calif.) School District, earned the Silver Special Achievement Award. Bertrand Weber, director of culinary and nutrition services, Minneapolis Public Schools, Special School District #1, received this year’s Silver Rising Star Award. Finally, SNA Past President Katie Wilson, PhD, SNS, executive director, National Food Service Management Institute, University, Miss., was named Silver Friend of Child Nutrition. In addition, this year’s honoree of the Gertrude Applebaum Lifetime Achievement Award, selected exclusively by the FAME sponsors, is SNA Past President Jane Wynn, MS, LDN, retired child nutrition director, The School Board of Broward County, Fla. The awards will be presented in conjunction with SNA’s School Nutrition Industry Conference held in Miami, Fla., this month. School Meal Successes Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Golden Carrot Awards, sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The awards recognize school districts that promote vegetarian options and take other proactive steps to offer nutrition education and improve school meals. Grand prizes went to The Active Learning Elementary School in Queens, N.Y., and Deerfield (Mass.) Academy. The runner-up was Solvang (Calif.) School District, and honorable mentions went to Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., and All Saints’ Day School in Carmel, Calif. To read more about the winners and the award program, visit http://tinyurl.com/goldencarrot. Kids in the Kitchen More than 350 students competed in the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s National ProStart Invitational. In the Culinary category, the winners were Simon Sanchez High School (Yijo, Guam) (first place), Technology Center of DuPage (Addison, Ill.) (second place), Howard High School (Ellicott City, Md.) (third place), Olathe (Kan.) Public Schools (fourth place) and Oak Harbor (Wash.) High School (fifth place). Receiving honors in the Management category were Badger High School (Lake Geneva, Wis.) (first place), Sauk Rapids-Rice (Minn.) High School (second place), Bergen County Academies (Hackensack, N.J.) (third place), Brookings (S.D.) High School (fourth place) and Mark Twain High School (Center, Mo.) (fifth place). For more on this year’s competition, visit www.nraef.org/ProStart/Invitational.
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