First lady fights for kids' nutrition
June 19th, 2014
01:30 AM ET
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First lady Michelle Obama is continuing to question Republicans who want to roll back some of the key provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, telling a group of medical journalists on Wednesday "We're not even thinking about the possibility of rolling back because we just can't afford for that to happen."

The first lady said school nutrition has improved for the first time in 30 years and that 90% of schools are currently in compliance.
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Filed under: Childhood Obesity • Hunger • Michelle Obama • School Lunch


Orange is the new green: produce from prisons
June 6th, 2014
12:00 PM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

The first season of the Netflix hit show Orange is the New Black featured a series of prison food posters, with recipes attached. Among the highlights: Prison Pad Thai (four ingredients: ramen noodles, peanut butter, peanuts and hot sauce) and Prison Tamales with a beef jerky filling.

For those of us who haven't binge-watched all of the second season yet, there's no word yet on what the prison food situation will be (beyond that the show’s cookbook comes out in October). I wonder if the star of the series, Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling), will start a garden. Because that’s what’s happening at a lot of prisons around the country.

Farm programs, like the ones below, teach inmates about nutrition, how to grow food and related life-skill lessons. The programs supply healthy food for prison cafeterias as well as for nearby restaurants and homeless shelters. Not only that: These gardening programs have been shown to reduce the rate of repeated incarceration. Bring on the #OITNB Cellblock Caesar Salad.
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Fast food workers: not who you think they are
May 30th, 2014
10:45 AM ET
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Older. Educated. A parent.

This is the face of today's fast food workers - 70% of whom are over the age of 20, nearly 40% have children and a third of them have spent some time in college, according to U.S. census data.

It wasn't always this way.
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May 30th, 2014
01:30 AM ET
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First lady Michelle Obama's drive to stop a Republican-led effort to slow adoption of nutrition standards for school meals, a centerpiece of her anti-obesity "Let's Move" campaign, was dealt a setback in Congress.

Democrats aligned with Mrs. Obama on the issue failed on Thursday to strip the proposal from a $142.5 billion Agriculture Department spending bill, which was approved by the Appropriations Committee and sent to the full House for consideration.
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May 27th, 2014
06:30 PM ET
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Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking With Grease: Stirring the Pots in America." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

It's been a long time. A very long time. But I cannot forget my first school lunch.
Call it free or call it charity, but it was a good meal that provided me, and so many others, with sustenance that made our school days more delightful. Our meals honored the traditions of the time - red beans and rice with smoked sausage, bread and perhaps dessert. And of course every Friday we had fish sticks, potato salad or French fries.

We've come a long way since then. Today, most public school children get perfectly balanced meals. School chefs use food selected to provide maximum nutrition, food that will enhance a student's well-being and learning abilities. Their standards come from federal nutrition experts in the U.S. Department of Agriculture who survey what important foods are missing from children's diets.
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McDonald's HQ, hold the workers
May 21st, 2014
05:45 PM ET
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McDonald's corporate headquarters near Chicago looks like a ghost town.

On the site where fast-food workers planned a wage protest Wednesday, McDonald's confirmed the closing of its headquarters, which was to be the demonstrators' focal point.

"The building where the protestors told the police they were visiting is the building the police advised us to close in advance for security and traffic purposes," said McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb.

Steve Mills, who operates a remote truck for CNN, confirmed that the parking lot at McDonald's headquarters was empty except for about "5 cars."
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May 15th, 2014
10:45 AM ET
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Fast-food workers walked off their jobs in dozens of cities Thursday, demanding a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Union organizers say the strikes will reach 150 U.S. cities and several countries.

CNNMoney confirmed that workers were striking at a McDonald's in Trafalgar Square in London.
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May 13th, 2014
11:15 AM ET
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In the aftermath of the massive Rim Fire that started in August 2013 near Yosemite National Park, rare and expensive morel mushrooms have hunters on the prowl.
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Filed under: Disaster • Environment • Foraging • Heat • Local Food


Opinion: Restaurants - someone's mother works here
May 9th, 2014
01:30 PM ET
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Editor's note: Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, and author of Behind the Kitchen Door, a groundbreaking exploration of the political, economic, and moral implications of dining out. Nation's Restaurant News named her as one of the 50 most powerful people in the restaurant industry and she was recently included in CNN Living's 10 Visionary Women list.

About 80 million of us will head to our favorite restaurant with our Moms this Sunday. It’s considered one of the highest grossing days of the year for the restaurant industry. The world’s largest restaurant lobby, the National Restaurant Association, says that more than one quarter of American adults will celebrate Mother’s Day by dining out and nearly one in 10 more will order takeout or delivery.

The majority of restaurant servers working on Sunday will be women, millions of them mothers. They will be earning a sub-minimum wage as low as $2.13 an hour (the federal rate since 1991); their take-home pay will be mostly tips, whatever they have leftover, in some cases, after tipping out bussers, hosts, and the rest of the restaurant’s tipped staff.

Due to the instability of living off tips, these women are undoubtedly looking forward to Mother’s Day, even if it means not being with their own family, because serving a lot of customers usually increases what they can expect in tips.
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