Tag Archives: county

From local farms to local schools

NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 30, 2012 —

By John Young, Yolo Co. Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights & Measures

Farm-to-School programs combine public health and agricultural marketing objectives with the potential to change the way young people eat, think about food and improve their health through development of life-long healthy eating habits.

Farm-to-School Yolo is a three-year program that will link YoloCounty agriculture with the National School Lunch Program,which is offered in YoloCounty to 38,000 students of whom, 65% are eligible for free and reduced meals, five days a week.

  Farm-to-School Yolo is working with school districts in YoloCounty to increase the amount of fresh, local produce offered in breakfast, lunch and after-school snacks in all five school districts and in the Yolo County Office of Education’s Head Start Preschool Program. Farm-to-School Yolo will not only increase the use of fresh, local produce, it will also teach students and staff where food comes from, who grew it and how it should be prepared for peak flavor and nutritional value.

Regrettably, Yolo County has an obesity rate of 26.1% in its Kindergarten-12th grade student population. Intervention is necessary starting with the meals that our most vulnerable young people are eating in our schools. Farm-to-School Yolo recognizes the role of agriculture as part of the solution to this public health issue.  Once fully implemented, Farm-to-School Yolo, working with local farmers, will provide the tools for school food service programs to serve increasingly healthy meals made from scratch, thus avoiding many of the hidden ingredients which contribute to obesity epidemic.

“Farm-to-School Yolo is a piece of the puzzle in building a local food economy, turning the tide of childhood obesity and reconnecting our residents to the land and the people who produce our food,” said Yolo County Board of Supervisors Chair Jim Provenza.

Farm-to-School Yolo is not a start-up.  It isan objective specifically called out in the Yolo County 2030 General Plan, adopted in November of 2009.  It also builds on the successful three-year Yolo Agricultural Marketing Initiative, completed in 2009 by local food, food policy and marketing experts Georgeanne Brennan and Ann Evans.

Recently, Farm-to-School Yoloconcluded a two-year development phase incorporating in its implementation plan the successes of the Davis and Winters Farm-to-School programs. A 60-member, multi-stakeholder Advisory Task Force, chaired by Delaine Eastin, former California Superintendent of Public Instruction, is now in place to facilitate program implementation.

“In Yolo County, we want to take the successful Farm-to-School program in Davis and expand it on a countywide scale,” said Chair Provenza. “We seek to be the model for California, connecting our food service directors to our farmers, bringing fresh, local produce to the plates of our YoloCounty children.”

  Ultimately, the program will deliver school food service professional development; grower/farmer assessment, training and development; menu and recipe templates; a feasibility study of a food hub through the Yolo County Food Bank; and private sector marketing and distribution linkages.

Farm-to-School programs  will contribute to the health of our children, farms, the environment, the economy and our communities.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

GUEST COMMENTARY: join up & fight tobacco


Yolo County Tobacco Prevention Coaltion

The Yolo County Tobacco Prevention Coalition is seeking new members!

An article in The Sacramento Bee entitled “Wealthy Counties Top the List of California’s Healthiest,” published on April 4,  stated that Yolo County citizens have a far lower smoking rate than the majority of counties in California. This is a huge achievement for Yolo County and we must keep it up. Community members that are willing to do their part to help stand against the effects of the tobacco industries are the key to upholding this consistently low smoking rate, and play a key role in increasing awareness and supporting efforts for a healthier community.

  Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death globally, taking over 5 million lives a year. Today’s cigarettes deliver nicotine more efficiently to the brain, addicting kids more quickly and making it harder for smokers to quit. Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke cause immediate harm to the human body, and can lead to cancer, heart attacks, and lung disease.

The purpose of the Yolo County Tobacco Prevention Coalition is to prevent and reduce tobacco use through education, social norm change, and individual empowerment in our culturally diverse county. The coalition tries to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, counter “Big Tobacco” influences, reduce the availability of tobacco to minors, and promote and provide help with quitting tobacco. A few of the coalition’s recent accomplishments include assisting Yolo County cities and supervisors in reducing cigarette sales to children (via licensing retailers), and supporting Woodland and Winters City Councils in adopting resolutions to offer more smoke-free apartments.

  There are so many benefits to joining the coalition! Coalition members are a group of advocates representing the general public and various agencies including those from the Yolo County school districts, law enforcement, and healthcare professionals. Make a difference in your community, be part of the decision making process, and make your community a healthier place. The coalition meets every other month to network, plan activities, and address current tobacco issues affecting Yolo County.

If you have an interest in preventing another generation from becoming addicted to tobacco products, being part of this coalition is a great opportunity to make a difference.

Please contact Steven Jensen with the Yolo County Tobacco Education Program at (530) 666-8616 or email steven.jensen@yolocounty.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Need help or a referral? Call 2-1-1 in Yolo


Dialing 211 in Yolo County will get you “211 Yolo,” with 24-hour, free, confidential, multilingual advice on how to connect with any of over 900 community services available to county residents.

If you need help and don’t know where to turn, call 211.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Fun run Saturday to fight child abuse


The Yolo County Children’s Alliance and Child Abuse Prevention Council hope you’ll join them at a Child Abuse Prevention Fun Run, on Sat., April 28, at Marguerite Montgomery Elementary School, 1441 Danbury St. in Davis.

There will be a 5k walk/run at 8 a.m. and a 1k kids’ fun run at 9:30 a.m. Registration is $25 for adults and $10 for kids. Proceeds benefit the YCCA’s “Baby Steps Child Abuse Prevention Campaign. For information or to register, go to www.yolokids.org or call (530) 757-5558.

Museums are free today in Woodland


Explore one of Woodland’s 11 museums for free on April 14.

Some museums will have donation boxes, Hedrick Ag Center will be half price.  Most will have free admission on that day.  Brochures and maps will be available at each museum.

  The list includes:

Christian Church Museum, 509 College
Gibson House-Yolo County Historical Museum,  512 Gibson Road
Hays Antique Truck Museum   and the Heidrick Ag History Center, both at 1962 Hays Lane
Reiff’s Gas Station, Jefferson Street
Historic Woodland Railroad Depot corner of Lincoln and Sixth Street
Spring Lake School House,     Yolo County Fair Grounds
Spring Lake/Woodland Fire Museum, Yolo County Fair Grounds
Woodland Fire Museum, 532 Court Street
Woodland Museum of Biblical Archeology, 240 West Street
Woodland Opera House, 320 Second Street
Docents will be at each location.

Museum Day is sponsored by the Yolo County Historical Society.

For information, call B.J. Ford, 530-662-0952 or 530-304-7521.

Kids: ‘read off’ your book fines


Yolo library card holders age 5-18 who have overdue book fines are invited to “read off your fines” between April 6-14. The library will give $1 credit against these fines for each 15 minutes spent reading a book of their choice at the library. Available hours vary; visit www.yolocountylibrary.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

What do you want from your library?

GUEST COMMENTARY from the March 7, 2012 News-Ledger:

By Patty Wong
Yolo County Librarian

When I came to Yolo County Library as the County Librarian, I got to know people from grass-roots community groups that have supported the Library for over one hundred years.   Each branch of the Yolo County Library has local residents who contribute their time and energy to support their local library.  All of us at the Yolo County Library want to ensure this on-going community involvement in public libraries.  To reach this goal, we’ve begun our first-ever strategic planning process.

I’d like to invite all residents to participate in a survey that will help shape the future of Yolo County Public Libraries.  The survey is part of a strategic planning process that includes research, public comment, interviews and discussion sessions with community leaders and library staff.  Some of the questions I’d like folks to think about are:  What makes Yolo County a unique community?  Why is Yolo County a great place to live, work and raise a family?  Through your comments, we’ll learn about our community’s needs and vision for the future.  We’ll use this information to build a stronger public library.

In many ways the public library is an integral part of the quality of life in Yolo County.  It serves the information needs of all residents, including recreational reading, research, online computer access, ready for kindergarten and adult literacy programs, volunteer opportunities and much more.  Small business owners use the public library to work and read up on new management publications.  Parents bring their children to the library for free events, homework help and a constant source of new books to read.  Programs for older adults help answer their questions about financial issues and health care.

  In recent years, we’ve implemented new conveniences such as downloadable e-books and held classes for community members to learn how to use this new technology.  A new mobile website allows residents to check their library account on their smart device to see if their requested book, movie or CD is waiting for them.

Our communities have changed too, and library services are needed more than ever in our rural areas such as Knights Landing and Yolo.  These small libraries help close the digital divide in rural areas where information is harder to access because of distance, scarcity of community gathering places and the lack of high speed cable.  These libraries also provide access to resources for rural residents to live happy and productive lives in a complex and ever-changing world.

I invite you to participate in the Yolo County Library planning process by completing the survey or by contacting Elizabeth Gray, Assistant County Librarian (530) 666-8084 or elizabeth.gray@yolocounty.org, with your input.

The survey will be available soon online at www.yolocountylibrary.org and will be available in hard copy format in all Yolo County branch libraries.  Those who complete the survey may choose to be entered in a raffle to win a book or tote bag.

The Yolo County Library needs your help in shaping the future direction of our public libraries. Please join us in the endeavor.