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WGC Partners Make News

December 28, 2011

It takes a village to raise a child, as the saying goes. It also takes the contributions of many to promote the good taste and good health benefits of whole grains. As we close out 2011, Oldways and the Whole Grains Council would like to pause for a minute to recognize some recent WGC partners' efforts.

We start by saluting WGC Board of Advisors Chair Mike Holleman (pictured here) for getting school kids in northern Minnesota excited about whole grains, as part of First Lady Michelle Obama's Chefs Move to Schools program. Mike, who is Director of Culinary Development at Indian Harvest, has been visiting local elementary, middle and high schools in the Bemidji, Minnesota area for the past two years. Armed with pots, pans, and whole grains, he's been cooking up a storm, letting kids taste-test his creations, and training cafeteria staff in cooking his whole grain recipes. Read all about it here.

Also in Minnesota, we're pleased to read about another school district that's benefiting from WGC partners' efforts. In this case the Osseo Area Schools, just northwest of Minneapolis, got a whole grain makeover thanks to a collaboration between WGC member Cargill and WGC Scientific Advisor Len Marquart. Len heard that the Osseo schools were frustrated by their unsuccessful efforts to create whole grain foods their kids liked; he enlisted Cargill senior food scientist Jessica Wellnitz to help. Jessica, the mother of two pre-schoolers understands picky eaters, and was able to help Osseo foodservice workers create breads that were both healthy and tasty. In fact, Len and Jessica's project was so successful that Osseo was our Public Schools Winner in this year's Whole Grains Challenge awards program. Read all about it here.

Our WGC Culinary Advisors are doing their part to spread the good news about whole grains, too. The Washington Post named Maria Speck's book Ancient Grains for Modern Meals as one of their top ten cookbooks of 2011. Maria is the WGC's newest Culinary Advisor, having just joined our merry band in mid-2011. Paula Wolfert's The Food of Morocco was another of the Post's Top Ten, highlighting Paula's expertise in the food of that country. Paula, a long-time Culinary Advisor for many Oldways programs, accompanied Oldways on its 2008 Culinaria travel adventure to Morocco. Read all about it here.

Another WGC Culinary Advisor, Ellie Krieger of the Food Network's hit show Healthy Appetite, stopped by St John's Bread & Life soup kitchen in New York City's Bedford-Stuyvesant district, to demonstrate healthy comfort foods soup-kitchen chefs. Hosted by the nonprofit City Harvest, Ellie's demonstration featured whole grain crumbs on the "fried" chicken, and whole grain pasta in the macaroni and cheese. Read all about it here.

Retailers also play an important role when they partner with health and education organizations like the Whole Grains Council. We salute the work that supermarket chain Giant Eagle is doing to bring more whole grains (and the Whole Grain Stamp!) to their inhouse bakery products and to educate consumers about whole grains. That's a sample of their tasty bread above. We worked with Giant Eagle RD Caroline Whitby to help them with their messaging – which included a YouTube video telling folks to look for the Whole Grain Stamp and information on their website.

Since 2003, when the Whole Grains Council held its first meeting, we've been able to make whole grains the new norm by the combined efforts of all of our partners, and millions of everyday folks out there. You may not be a celebrity chef, or an acclaimed scientist, or a manufacturer or retailer of whole grain products, but you make a difference every time you serve your kids a PBJ on whole grain bread, put brown rice on the table, or astonish your workmates by revealing that those delicious cookies you shared were made with whole grain flour. We can't do it alone, and we appreciate all of the efforts of all of everyone, everywhere, who shares our passion for whole grains. Happy New Year to all of you! (Cynthia)


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