In the City of Richmond, Virginia, 40,020 residents are food insecure and lack access to enough food for an active healthy lifestyle — roughly 20 percent of the total city population.
In July 2011, Richmond’s mayor established The Food Policy Task Force to “ensure all residents have access to healthy foods and an understanding of the impact this has on both an individual’s health and the health of the community at large.”
Virginia Cooperative Extension agents served on the task force and found that 20 to 60 percent of Richmond’s population – or between 40,000 to more than 120,000 of total residents – are going hungry or are at risk of food insecurity due to lack of healthy food access or consumption.
In 2014, the Richmond Extension office hosted the Urban Food Desert Symposium at Fifth Street Baptist Church, a church located in one of the 25 food deserts across the City. The First Lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe, gave opening remarks.
Nothing is quite as satisfying as a tall, cold glass of milk, but odd flavors can be off-putting to consumers.
Researchers at Virginia Tech have traced what could be one indicator of contamination when milk’s flavor profile turns sour — too much iron in cows’ water sources.
A collaborative research effort involving the departments of dairy science, food science and technology, biochemistry, and civil and environmental engineering discovered that iron in bovine water sources was causing oxidized flavors, degraded milk proteins, and general poor stability of milk products. High iron content also decreased the cow’s ability to efficiently process some types of nutrients, which decreases production levels and makes the animals susceptible to a host of other health issues including mastitis and other bacterial infections.
“We found that when iron was present in the water or we added iron, we got a flavor profile that was less than ideal,” said Susan Duncan, professor of food science and technology and one of the lead authors in the iron study.
“While producers may not see the effects of iron in their milk quality immediately, over time this could pose a problem for producers who might notice a decline in quality and sales for no apparent reason.”
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Kathryn Strong, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for Fairfax County, believes in the value of independent and health-conscious senior residents. To aid the growing population of seniors in their quest for healthier lifestyles, Strong has spearheaded senior cooking and nutrition programming in Fairfax and Arlington.
Strong’s senior cooking and nutrition workshops are held at senior centers and at faith-based and civic organizations around the community. Workshops incorporate cooking demonstrations, lectures, and discussions on a variety of topics. The programming emphasizes the benefits of healthy eating — particularly for seniors — which include reduced risks for heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, bone loss, cancer, and anemia. Eating well and being physically active also help to manage chronic diseases and can reduce high blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, and control blood glucose.
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Virginia’s National Champion Food Challenge Team; pictured from left to right: Luke Jennings, Jordan Strickler, Madeline Rothwell, and Ryan Sensabaugh.
The Augusta County Food Works team took home top honors at the National 4-H Food Challenge, held Oct. 4 in Dallas. The team topped a competitive 11-team field to be crowned 2016 national champions.
The four-member team included:
- Luke Jennings of Staunton, Virginia;
- Madeline Rothwell of Staunton, Virginia;
- Ryan Sensabaugh of Greensville, Virginia; and
- Jordan Strickler of Staunton, Virginia.
Exposure to fruits and vegetables was all it took for one student at a recent 4-H Healthy Lifestyles and Food and Nutrition program to make her diet healthier.
“One student went home and requested that her mom purchase some of the things we tasted in class,” said Jocelyn Pearson, 4-H youth development Virginia Cooperative Extension agent for the City of Chesapeake. “Often we find that if we can expose kids to new fruits and vegetables they end up liking them and wanting to learn more about nutrition and how to live healthier.”
The students tasted a wide array of fruits and vegetables during the programming including Asian pears, Fuji apples, sweet potatoes, broccoli, bok choy, red potatoes, collard greens, rutabaga, tangerines, green beans, winter squash and spaghetti squash.
Virginia 4-H addresses the state’s childhood obesity problem by exposing kids to good exercise and eating habits. In Chesapeake second graders at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School participated in a bi-monthly program that introduced them to one fruit and one vegetable per session, which they then learned how to prepare, as well as the food’s nutrients and health benefits.
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