Farm Bureau celebrates Food Check-Out Week
Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 8:01 pm
To celebrate the abundance and safety of food in America, Farm Bureau organizations across the nation host Food Check-Out Week the third week of February each year. Food Check-Out Day tracks the amount of income needed by Americans to purchase food on an annual basis, and for 2011, the average American has earned enough income by Feb. 20 to pay for their family’s food for the entire year. This is the 13th year for the annual observance.
U.S. consumers still spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, according to the 2009 USDA data. Consumers in other countries spend much more: France, 14 percent; South Africa, 20 percent; China, 33 percent; Philippines, 37 percent; and Indonesia, 43 percent.
Tennessee’s farmers are committed to producing safe, abundant and healthy food, and Farm Bureau is committed to helping consumers find solutions to eating healthy on a stretched budget.
This year, Farm Bureau Women’s committee members around the state joined in presenting a significant monetary donation to the Ronald McDonald Houses in Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Johnson City. The houses provide a “home-away-from-home” for the families of seriously ill children being treated at nearby hospitals. Donations provide families staying at the houses with needed staple foods, so they are able to focus their attention on taking care of their children.
Brenda Baker, chairman of the Obion County Farm Bureau Women and District I chairman of the state Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, was one of several women who gathered in Memphis Monday to help shop for a donation of food for the Ronald McDonald House in Memphis. Tennessee Farm Bureau donates $500 to each of its five districts to shop and make a donation to their Ronald McDonald Houses. Several counties, including Obion County, make donations to local charities. Reelfoot Rural Ministries director Michael Blake was presented with a check for $250 last week to purchase hot lunches for the group’s day care and for delivery to homebound seniors. Reelfoot Rural Ministries has an outreach that covers Obion, Lake and Dyer counties.
This year’s theme, in recognition of current economic conditions, is “Stretching Your Food Dollar with Healthy, Nutritious Food.”
Recent retail price increases at the grocery store are due primarily to higher energy costs fo processing, hauling and refrigerating food products, according to Farm Bureau officials.
With many Americans feeling an economic squeeze, they may be eating out less and preparing more meals at home. Public health experts also fear that lean economic times may mean an already overweight public may resort to cheaper higher-calorie foods, which can lack important vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.
The American Farm Bureau offers the following tip for better nutrition on a tight budget:
• Prepare a shopping list and stick to it.
• Don’t shop when you’re hungry.
• Plan nutritious meals and snacks you’ll prepare at home that include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
• Compare prices.
• Balance the cost of foods with the preparation time required.
A healthy diet includes a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lwo-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts within daily calorie needs. All forms of fruits and vegetables count toward a healthy diet — including fresh, frozen, dried and canned.
A tip for keeping produce fresh longer is to store produce in a perforated plastic bag. This stops condensation and shriveling. Make holes in a plastic bag with a paper punch, knife or other sharp object about six inches apart all over the bag.
Look for fresh produce when it’s in season or on special, and remember that frozen produced often has the same — or better — nutrition and price than fresh.
Published in The Messenger 2.22.11