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New USDA Survey Examines Where We Shop for Groceries: How to make nutritious decisions?

A new USDA survey indicates


A new survey funded by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and Food and Nutrition Service is ideally suited to answer these questions. The National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) collected information from a national sample of 4,826 households between April 2012 and January 2013 about where they shop for food and other unique, comprehensive data about household food purchases and acquisitions. FoodAPS is unique because it sampled a relatively large number of households that participate in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as nonparticipant households from three income levels.

Initial findings from the survey reveal that SNAP participants are less likely than nonparticipants to drive their own vehicle to their primary store—the one where they shop most often—and more likely to rely on someone else or to walk, bike, or take public transit. Sixty-eight percent of SNAP participants use their own cars for food shopping compared with 95 percent of non-poor households (i.e., those with household incomes above 185 percent of the Federal poverty line).

Households, the survey shows, don’t necessarily shop at the store that is closest to them. Our analysis shows that SNAP participants live an average of 2.0 miles from the closest SNAP-authorized store, but travel 3.4 miles to their primary store. Similarly, we found that non-poor households live an average of 2.2 miles from a grocery store, but primarily shopped at a store 4.0 miles from home. When it comes to our main grocery shopping, all of us—poor and not poor—bypass the store closet to our homes to shop at one that offers the prices, variety, or services we are looking for.

The challenge is how do we get SNAP participants to consider nutrition and health as part of their equation both when choosing a “regular” grocery store and when they need to make choices on the closest option. (We’ve all been there, short of time and energy, we buy what’s near us.)


Learning ZoneXpress has a range of materials that might help:


Super Cart HandoutsSuper Cart Handouts

The Super Cart tablet pits two grocery carts side-by-side to determine which is the better choice – both nutritionally and price wise. Do a quick comparison and it’s easy to see: the Super Cart contains food choices that are both good for you and good for your budget. Tablet backside features a grocery shopping checklist with space to add your own grocery choices and top ten tips for grocery shopping that can save money and help you eat healthy.

Price: $11.95 


The Grocery Shopping Challenge DVDThe Grocery Shopping Challenge DVD


Looking for the most bang for your buck at the grocery store? Want to know the nutrition values in the aisles of your grocery store? Look no further than The Grocery Shopping Challenge! Get the inside scoop on what stores do to get you to spend more at the checkout. Join Megan and Josh as they venture their way through the grocery store with the same shopping list to see who gets the better nutrition value and price for eight common grocery items. Learn some tricks grocery stores use to get you to spend more, and how to separate the hype from the deals so you can eat well for less.

Price: $49.95 


See more

Support for K-12 Service-Learning Programs

From our friends at GrantStation

Support for K-12 Service-Learning Programs
Youth Service America: Good Neighbor Innovation School Grants
The Good Neighbor Innovation School Grants program, a partnership of Youth Service America (YSA) and State Farm, supports K-12 administrators who want to create a culture of meaningful learning through service in their schools. The program will select 20 K-12 public schools to be recognized as Good Neighbor Innovation Schools. Each selected school will receive a $5,000 grant to support their efforts to authentically engage students during the 2015-2016 academic year by using YSA’s school programs, including Semester of Service, Classrooms with a Cause, and Global Youth Service Day. Administrators will also receive travel support to attend a Training Symposium in Washington, DC, as well as ongoing technical support, resources, and networking. The application deadline is May 8, 2015. Visit the YSA website for details.


Support for Pet Housing at Domestic Violence Shelters

From our friends at GrantStation

Support for Pet Housing at Domestic Violence Shelters
RedRover Domestic Violence Safe Housing Grants
RedRover Domestic Violence Safe Housing Grants enable organizations throughout the country that shelter domestic violence victims to create space to house the victims’ pets on-site where little to no pet housing was previously available. These grants of up to $6,000 are intended to bridge a critical gap in funding to help the pet housing project get started. RedRover is working toward the goal of having one pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in each state in 2015. Shelters in the following states are especially encouraged to apply: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. The application deadlines for 2015 are May 15 and October 15. Visit the RedRover website to review the funding guidelines.


National Nutrition Month…A Great Time to Eat More Fruits and Veggies!

National Nutrition Month is a great time to begin making healthier eating choices. A simple tip that anyone can do is to eat more fruits and veggies! Why eat fruits and veggies? They taste great, are colorful, do great things for your body and are low in fat and calories. The nutrients found in fruits and veggies may even reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes!

Our “Why Eat Fruits and Veggies? Handouts” will help you explore the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. These colorful, information-filled tear-off tablet sheets explain the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, common serving sizes, daily requirements, and offers great suggestions for ways to eat more.

470119Here are some simple ideas to eating more fruits and vegetables:
• Choose apples, oranges, and bananas as an easy grab and go option
• Make a smoothie by blending fruit with yogurt & 100% fruit juice
• Top cereal or yogurt with berries or sliced banana
• Choose fruit for dessert
• Dip Veggies in low-fat dip or hummus
• Add veggies to spaghetti sauce or soup
• Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
Take the time during National Nutrition Month to explore the many health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables. Visit Learning ZoneXpress for additional Fruits and Vegetables nutrition education resources.

USDA Releases Request for Farm to School Grant Applications

farm to schoolHappy to share the news on upcoming grant for Farm to School programs…

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the release of a request for applications for the USDA’s Fiscal Year 2016 round of Farm to School grants. Designed to increase the availability of local foods in eligible schools, these grants help new farm to school programs get started or expand existing efforts, facilitating stronger connections between local and regional producers and school cafeterias.

“When schools buy food from nearby producers, their purchasing power helps create local jobs and economic benefits, particularly in rural agricultural communities,” Vilsack said. “These Farm to School grants will help schools respond to the growing demand for local foods and increase market opportunities for many types of food producers.”

Four different kinds of grants are available. Planning grants are for schools or school districts just getting started on farm to school activities; they’re designed to help them organize and structure their efforts for maximum impact by incorporating best practices into early planning considerations. Implementation grants are available for schools or school districts seeking to augment or expand existing farm to school efforts. Support service grants are intended for non-profit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers to evolve farm to school initiatives.

Additionally, all eligible entities can still apply for funds to support training and technical assistance, such as local procurement, food safety, culinary education, and integration of agriculture based curriculum.

Proposals for planning, implementation, and support service grants are due at 11:59 p.m. EST, May 20, 2015. Letters of intent for training grants are due at 11:59 p.m. EST, April 30, 2015. To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a webinar related to the application process on March 25, 2015, 1:00 EST.

“USDA is proud to support communities across the country as they plan and implement innovative farm to school projects. Evidence suggests that when kids understand more about where food comes from and how it is produced, they are more likely to make healthy eating choices,” said Vilsack.

More information about the grant program, upcoming webinars relevant to applicants, and sample grant applications can be found on-line at:

The Farm to School Grant Program is a cornerstone of USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates the Department’s work on local and regional foods. The grants are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), which authorized and funded USDA to assist eligible entities, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. The Act provides $5 million annually to support grants, technical assistance, and the federal administrative costs related to USDA’s Farm to School Program.