January 27, 2012 -- First Lady Michelle Obama expresses gratitude for the tireless efforts school nutrition professionals make to creatively prepare healthful meals for America’s children with tight budgets and limited resources. She applauds the progress that has been made and looks forward to working to continue and build on those efforts. Read the full letter here.
January 27, 2012—In celebration of the release of the final regulation for new nutrition standards for school meals, First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary Tom Vilsack and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives and Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass today emphasized their collective gratitude for the passion and commitment of school nutrition professionals and other advocates for all they have done already in working collaboratively to deliver healthier, more nutritious food to America’s children. The full transcript of these sentiments can be found on the USDA Blog, in an entry by Kass entitled, “Working With Our Partners for a Healthier Future.” Click on the following link to access the page. http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/01/27/working-with-our-partners-for-a-healthier-future/
A message from School Nutrition Association CEO Frank DiPasquale:
Yesterday, SNA President Helen Phillips and I attended First Lady Michelle Obama’s press event announcing the release of the new meal pattern regulations. The event took place at one of the schools of SNA Past President, Penny McConnell.
Overall it was a terrific day for school nutrition and the children we serve. Secretary Vilsack was a strong advocate for school nutrition professionals and their programs, and the First Lady’s comments were positive as a whole. In fact, she took time to recognize school nutrition programs that are well on their way to meeting the new standards saying, “so many schools across this country have been working so hard to improve the food that they serve to our kids in school. In fact, there are many schools that have been meeting these new standards for years, long before this legislation was passed. Thousands more have made significant improvements, offering their students a whole array of healthy -- and tasty, mind you -- new options.”
Yet, the media focused on a few unfortunate comments, turning the energy and attitude in a very different direction. At SNA headquarters, we have received many emails and phone calls voicing your displeasure with those remarks, and we share these concerns. We have been in contact with both the White House and USDA regarding our concerns.
SNA has also reached out to national reporters about the remarkable work school nutrition professionals are already doing to offer healthier choices in school cafeterias. As a result of these efforts, SNA messages about your tremendous achievements have been featured in numerous national news stories. I encourage you to visit www.schoolnutrition.org/mealpattern to see a sampling of the coverage.
In all of this, however, let’s remember it was a good day for children and SNA. The final regulation responded to many of our concerns and it was a major change from the proposed rule. The new meal pattern will help school nutrition professionals build on current efforts to provide more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy choices in our cafeterias.
For a full transcript of the First Lady’s speech, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/25/remarks-first-lady-school-lunch-standards-announcement.
January 25, 2012 -- First Lady Michelle Obama joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new nutrition standards for school meals. The new rule requires all schools participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to serve more fruits, vegetables and whole grains with school meals, while limiting sodium and calories. SNA President Helen Phillips, SNS, and SNA Chief Executive Officer Frank DiPasquale attended the event to hear firsthand the announcement of the new standards.
SNA is reviewing the 280 pages of the Final Rule on the Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs and will be providing analysis for members and up-to-date information at: www.schoolnutrition.org/mealpattern Be sure to check periodically for updates to the site.
January 25, 2012 -- SNA has launched a one-stop shop for materials and news relating to the release of USDA’s School Meal Pattern Final Regulation. Click on the meal pattern link in the Highlights section for member’s only resources, including: A detailed summary and analysis of USDA’s Final Regulations, SNA’s Meal Pattern Plan of Action, SNA’s Press Release, talking points, archived August webinar on Proposed Meal Patterns, and legislative insight. Be sure and familiarize yourself with the link and check back periodically as we will update the site with more information as it becomes available.
January 24, 2012 -- The School Nutrition Association is hosting the 40th Annual Legislative Action Conference from March 4-7, 2012 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday March 7th from 7:30am – 11:30 am, A Roundtable Discussion on the General Election, Agriculture, and Nutrition Programs will conclude what is sure to be an exhilarating conference.
The panel discussion will center on the increasing role that agriculture and nutrition have in decisions and policy development. We will hear from former Secretaries of Agriculture and a former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture who collectively will provide insight stemming from their experience at USDA. The discussion will include the link between funding programs and the constraints on budgets. The goal of this session is to provide perspectives from leaders and experts on the importance of balance, priorities and policies that impact our ability to provide quality, nutritious meals to our nation’s children in an efficient and healthy manner.
You don’t want to miss this unique opportunity to hear candid conversations with former USDA Secretaries.
Be sure to register for LAC and make plans to stay through the end to glean perspectives covering the Reagan Administration to the Clinton Administration to George W. Bush Administration.
The session will feature:
The Honorable John BlockBlock was Secretary of Agriculture under President Ronald Reagan from 1981-1986 and was involved with the 1985 Farm Bill.
Charles ConnerConner was Deputy Secretary of Agriculture under President George W. Bush serving from 2005, and was acting Secretary in 2007. Currently he is the president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, a position he has held since January 2009.
The Honorable Dan GlickmanGlickman served as the Secretary of Agriculture from 1995 – 2001 under President Bill Clinton. He currently serves as a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he focuses on public health, national security, and economic policy issues.
The session will be moderated by Sara Wyant, veteran farm policy reporter and president of Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc., a diversified communications firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Little Rock, Arkansas, and Camdenton, Missouri.
Click here to register for LAC and become engaged in this exciting roundtable discussion!
It’s Tray Talk week, help spread the word about healthy school meals. Whether you choose to do something big or small, this is your opportunity to show off your program’s unique accomplishments and engage parents to get the facts about your school meals program.
To help you promote your program, SNA has a number of updated tools available for you at www.schoolnutrition.org/traytalk (member login required)
Included in the updated tools and flyers are:
Also and most important, don’t forget to visit www.TrayTalk.org to submit your school nutrition success story.
January 20, 2012 -- On Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 11:15 am First Lady Michelle Obama will be joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, VA to speak with parents about USDA’s new nutrition standards for school lunches. These new standards seek to ensure kids are offered fruits and vegetables every day of the week, increase the offerings of whole grain-rich foods, offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties, as well as focusing on proper portions.
Celebrity cook Rachael Ray will be serving a healthy, delicious meal that meets new and improved nutrition standards for school lunches. Following their remarks, Mrs. Obama and the Secretary will then join students for lunch.
Each year, SNA develops an action plan which charts the legislative course for the Association. This week during the Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC) in Orlando, FL, the Public Policy and Legislation Committee will draft the 2012 Legislative Issue Paper. After the draft is complete, the paper will be shared with the SNA Board for approval. Pending approval by the Board, the paper will be posted to the SNA website and will ultimately be officially unveiled at the 40th Annual Legislative Action Conference in March.
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