MyPlate, MyState: Celebrating Local Foods and Healthy Eating

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WASHINGTON, October 5, 2016 -- Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) launched the next phase of MyPlate, MyState, an effort to celebrate homegrown pride, foods and recipes and bring communities together around healthy eating. Over the next year, USDA will be connecting with Americans through social media to promote the role of local and regional agriculture in supporting healthy eating. Using the MyPlate presence on Facebook and Twitter, USDA will promote a series of stories, tips, and calls to action aimed at inspiring consumers to take advantage of the healthy foods available in their communities while supporting rural economies. In addition, in honor of National Farm to School Month, USDA will release a MyPlate, MyState toolkit for teachers, to promote the intersection of nutrition and agriculture in the classroom.

"Eating decisions are very personal, and MyPlate, MyState encourages Americans to personalize their plate with local and regional foods and flavors," said CNPP Executive Director Angie Tagtow. "MyPlate, MyState is an invitation to explore the breadth and diversity of their local agriculture to find healthy foods they enjoy."

Through MyPlate, MyState, USDA is working to make the connection between healthy eating and more than 160,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide that are selling into local markets through grocery stores, local restaurants, schools and other institutions, farmers markets, farm stands and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. MyPlate, MyState is part of USDA's efforts to support local and regional food systems and galvanize the important role that American agriculture plays in feeding American families.

In addition to consumer engagement through social media, USDA is releasing a toolkit for teachers that can be used to discuss the role of local agriculture and nutrition in the classroom. The toolkit will provide links to lesson plans around gardening, agriculture and nutrition, as well as new MyPlate, MyState activity sheets that can be used to participate in National Farm to School Month this October, as well as throughout the school year. (Read more about USDA’s support for farm to school programs.)

MyPlate, MyState is part of MyPlate, MyWins, a consumer education campaign designed to help Americans find healthy eating styles that work for them through small changes that can be maintained over time. MyPlate, MyWins was launched early this year in coordination with the
2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and supports its recommendation to encourage small shifts toward a healthier eating pattern.

"Healthy eating styles are not meant to be rigid plans. Through MyPlate, MyWins and MyPlate, MyState, we want to show consumers that healthy eating can include foods that they enjoy, that meet personal and cultural preferences, fit within a budget, and can include foods that are grown within our communities," said Tagtow.

MyPlate, MyState began earlier this year when it was integrated into First Lady Michelle Obama's 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. In support of her Let's Move! initiative, schoolchildren from across the nation were invited to create an original recipe that was healthy, delicious, and included local flavors and ingredients. In July, 56 winners - one from each of the states, territories and DC -- joined the First Lady at the White House for the Kids' State Dinner where they dined on some of their winning MyPlate, MyState-inspired dishes.

In addition, each of the winning recipes has been included on USDA’s What’s Cooking? recipe website and featured on ChooseMyPlate.gov on their state/territory-specific MyPlate, MyState page. Each MyPlate, MyState page also includes information about foods grown and produced in that area, official state foods, farm to school investments and more. Each page is a celebration of the local agriculture and can be found at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov/MyState.

MyPlate, MyState supports the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) Initiative, which coordinates the Department's work to develop strong local and regional food systems. Over the course of the Obama Administration, USDA has invested close to $1 billion in 40,000 local food-related projects on farms and in communities across the country. You can find local and regional supply chain resources on the newly-revamped KYF2 website and use the KYF2 Compass to locate USDA investments in your community. More information on how USDA investments are connecting producers with consumers, expanding rural economic opportunities, and increasing access to healthy food is available in Chapter IV of USDA Results on Medium.

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