I was stunned to learn that according to the Minnesota Department of Health, the obesity epidemic is costing Minnesota $3 billion per year. Wow!  Hennepin County Public Health wrote a story, below, about what our group is doing to help change reverse this epidemic.

Veggie Love – By Lori Imsdahl

This story begins in a kitchen. It’s March, and a group of school chefs don aprons. They wash their hands and assemble their utensils. And then they proceed to get hyped up over … cauliflower.Normally the white cruciferous vegetable is not something a lot of people like – let alone get hyped up over — but chefs in this Robbinsdale Area School kitchen are determined to change that.

Today they’re learning how to create cauliflower recipes that will tantalize students and staff. First on their agenda? Chipotle Caesar cauliflower salad.

The instructors are Marshall O’Brien and Audrey Hutchinson from the Chef Marshall O’Brien Group. Both are wearing coats emblazoned with “Nutrition on a mission.”

O’Brien knows what an important mission this is. “We have a healthcare crisis in this country,” he says, matter-of-factly. “And 40 percent of health outcomes are dictated by health behaviors like what you put in your mouth. Eating is different than nourishing, and fortunately people are starting to recognize that.”

Could eating more fruits and vegetables like cauliflower improve student attendance, behavior, and academic success? Health studies say yes. Not only that, but not eating more fruits and vegetables is fueling the obesity epidemic. And that epidemic is costing Minnesota over $3 billion per year.

Enter the Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). During the 2015-2016 academic year, SHIP gave five metro-area school districts a grant to promote produce consumption in their secondary schools.

Read the rest of the story here.