Food News: Why Supermarkets Transform Neighborhoods, and a New Training Program will Help Develop Farm to Institution

Here are some recent news stories you might have missed this week:

Civil Eats: Could This Bill Make Local Meat More Affordable?
Earlier this year, representatives and farmers from Kentucky and Maine introduced the PRIME (Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption) Act, a bill that would give states the freedom to allow farmers to custom process their own meat and sell it directly to consumers without federal inspection. Currently, most farmers send their meat to be processed at USDA-inspected facilities, which are few and far between—roughly half of U.S. states do not have any facilities at all. Supporters hope the bill will revive the small-scale meat processing industry and reduce the cost of local meat across the country. Learn more about the bill at Civil Eats.

Food Research & Action Center (FRAC):  Principals Survey Finds Breakfast After the Bell Makes the Grade in Secondary Schools
FRAC has released “Breakfast After the Bell: Equipping Students for Academic Success,” a new report that surveyed 105 secondary school principals in 67 school districts to get their take on school breakfast programs. Overwhelmingly, principals said that moving breakfast out of the cafeteria and into classrooms or into alternative places, like grab-and-go carts in hallways, increased participation. Most participants noted that alternative breakfast programs contributed to an improved school environment, with better test scores, less absenteeism and fewer disciplinary referrals. Read the full report on the FRAC website.

NPR’s The Salt: Are You Hungry? Pediatricians Add a New Question During Checkups
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is now recommending that pediatricians screen all children for food insecurity. According to the AAP’s statement, the organization decided to implement this policy because children living in food insecure households are more likely to be iron deficient, recover more slowly from illness, struggle to concentrate in school and develop chronic conditions later in life. AAP also recommends that pediatricians have lists of community resources, like food pantries, and SNAP information available to patients. Learn more at The Salt.

CityLab: When a Supermarket Changes How a Neighborhood Feels About Itself
Researchers have discovered that simply having a grocery store can improve a neighborhood, but not in the way you might think. They conducted a longitudinal study in Hill District, a historically low-income neighborhood in Pittsburgh that got a new, full-service grocery store called Shop ‘n Save. A year after the store had opened, residents had not increased their intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, although they did lower their overall caloric intake and their consumption of fat, added sugar and alcohol. However, the most interesting finding from the study shows that Hill District residents who did not shop at Shop ‘n Save still had improvements in diet similar to the residents who had begun shopping at the new store. The researchers say that neighborhood perceptions alone can have an impact on overall community well-being. Read more about the study on CityLab.

Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS): New Training Program for Professionals To Help Farmers Sell to Schools, Colleges and Other Institutions
FINYS is introducing a new training program for Extensions and agriculture-focused organizations to help establish local institutional food buying. Through webinars, conferences, site visits and conference calls, participants in “Farm to Institution Market Readiness Training” will learn how to facilitate workshops for growers about institutional markets and help growers build relationships with buyers at schools, colleges and other institutions. The training is free. Application deadline is Monday, Nov. 30. Visit the FINYS website for more information.