The Oregon Department of Agriculture's Farm-to-School program manager, Michelle Ratcliffe, has received that Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior's Health Promotion Policy Award for work promoting health and nutrition.
"I am honored to receive the award," says Ratcliffe, "as it reflects efforts to successfully promote good health and nutrition in ways that enhance our economy."
She says it is "heartening to see a health policy award presented for work that relates to agricultural policy and economic development. We are lucky to have a strong partnership between ODA and the Oregon Department of Education's Child Nutrition Programs to accomplish farm-to-school goals and objectives."
Farm-to-school, she adds, is a win-win approach supporting child health and helping farmers make money.
Heading up ODA's Farm-to-School Program since 2010, Ratcliffe directs a wide range of initiatives that enable schools to feature healthy, local food in cafeterias, and provide students with food and gardening based learning.
At ODA, Ratcliffe works in product development, procurement, promotion, distribution, education and research and evaluation. She also serves as an advisor to the National Farm-to-School network and School Food Focus, as well as managing the FoodCorps program for Oregon.
Ratcliffe lives on a Willamette Valley farm and says she is "passionate" about good food and the power of planting and tending foods into harvest.
The award is given to individual or organizations significantly contributing to creation and implementation policies or policy-based changes supporting the impact of food and physical activity.
The Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior is an international concern of nutrition education professionals who dedicate themselves to promotion of effective education and communication to support and improve healthy behaviors with a vision of enhancing beneficial food systems and behaviors, while fighting child obesity.
ODA has been an outspoken advocate of promoting of healthy food and child nutrition and has nurtured the FoodCorps program targeting those goals for three years, encouraging use of locally-produced foods in the process.