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US pork producers step up to help parents teach food, nutrition and environmental values during lockdown

Parents nationwide now have access to new ways to keep children learning and engaged during the coronavirus crisis, thanks to free materials developed in conjunction with the Pork Checkoff.

24 April 2020, at 8:24am

With hundreds of thousands of adults and young people working and learning from home during the global COVID-19 pandemic, parents are looking for ways to keep their students occupied and informed.

“The coronavirus pandemic has presented significant challenges for many families,” said Angie Krieger, vice president of domestic marketing for the Pork Checkoff.

“Parents are not only working from home, but they’re also being asked to fill the role of teacher. It can be hard for parents to fill this additional role, but America’s pig farmers are ready to help.

"We have a wealth of fun and educational resources parents can use to teach their children about food, nutrition, farming and the environment.”

Working with the award-winning curriculum specialists at Young Minds Inspired (YMI), the Pork Checkoff created a series of fun, educational activities that:

  • Support healthy eating habits based on USDA MyPlate guidelines.
  • Build understanding of the nutritional profile of pork.
  • Explain how pork is an important protein source in global cuisines, and provide recipes that help families build cooking skills together.
  • Share the importance of sustainability in food choices and the environmental footprint of modern pig farming.

“These resources come at a very relevant time when parents and teachers are looking for new ways to engage students,” said Dr Dominic Kinsley, managing partner, and editor-in-chief at Young Minds Inspired.

“All of our programmes are reviewed by a blue-ribbon panel of active teachers, so parents can be assured that these materials are age-appropriate and consistent with content their children are normally exposed to in the classroom.”

The Pork Checkoff has worked with YMI since 2008 to develop and approve standards-based content for classroom use. Just as new materials were about to be shared with classroom teachers around the US this spring, the coronavirus pandemic altered those plans. With minor adjustments, the content was modified to fit the needs of parents now looking for educational materials.

The content may be especially relevant to families, as retail pork sales have risen dramatically since mid-March. From mid-March to mid-April, retail sales of pork has increased 49 percent.

“Now that more people than ever have pork in their refrigerators and freezers, families can use these lesson plans to better understand where their food comes from, how it benefits their health and learn more about the sustainability of their food choices,” said Krieger. “The additional time I’ve had with my four daughters to have these discussions as we cook together has been enlightening for all of us.”