Food and Restaurants

You’ve probably seen it in your garden, along roadways, just about everywhere: Garlic Mustard.  It’s an invasive plant that stealthily out-competes native species, threatening the diversity of forests in many parts of the country. But what if there were a recipe to change that?

They don’t call it garlic mustard for nothing. Rachel Collins is Associate Professor of Biology at Roanoke College. 

“The chemical that it’s making that smells like garlic is one of these herbivore defense chemicals like basil and all the other yummy flavors in bail and mint.”

A recent survey showed 28% of Virginians have a hard time getting fresh fruit and vegetables in their communities.  What’s more, half of kids said they would head for a fast food restaurant or convenience store if given $5 for food. 

To counter those problems, a group of teachers is taking Richmond kids to the farm, where they dance, sing and discover the wonders of compost. 

Food banks are a lifesaver, but they don’t always make for the healthiest of diets.  A volunteer organization in Floyd County is moving to bring more fresh vegetables and healthy proteins to the table. 

The food bank and farm known as PLENTY in Floyd County, is constantly coming up with ways to provide that missing link.  Connecting people who have surplus food with others who don’t have enough. 

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Virginia schools could hold numerous fundraisers per year selling food that doesn’t meet nutritional guidelines under legislation that has passed both houses of the General Assembly.  The bill requires the Board of Education to craft regulations that would be more permissive than current state policy, and permit the sale of what some call “junk food” during school hours.  The Senate made its decision only after lengthy debate about what’s really best for the students. 

Does just seeing Ronald McDonald put you in the mood for a burger and fries?  Well, that effect is even stronger for children, who are bombarded with billions of dollars worth of food advertising brought to them by the media characters they love. 

It’s the low hanging fruit in the childhood obesity epidemic.  Redirect the power of advertising to promote foods to children that are lower in salt, sugar and fat.  And by promote, researchers mean, use the extraordinary power of media characters like Dora the Explorer and Tony the Tiger before her to deliver the message. 

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