Mary Anne Burkman has worked for the Dairy Council of California for twenty-five years, serving in numerous positions before assuming her role as Senior Director of Program Services. In that capacity she directs outreach efforts to community health and school audiences. She has overseen the development of nutrition education programs for adults and children ages preschool to high school.
Prior to coming to Dairy Council, she worked for ten years as a Lecturer and Director of Dietetics Training Programs at the University of California, Berkeley. She also worked several years as a Clinical Dietitian in medical centers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“Mooving Kids Back to the Farm”
Mary Anne Burkman, MPH, RDN
Tuesday October 18th 2016
California is home to just under 1.8 million cows. It is the #1 agricultural commodity in the state, and it is the #1 producer of milk in the United States, supplying 20% of the nation’s milk supply. Yet only 1% of the state’s population works in agriculture, and only about 4% of children live in rural areas. Unfortunately, most Californians have little to no awareness of where their food comes from. Additionally, many misperceptions or confusion abound re: issues like animal welfare, food safety and environmental sustainability.
To address this dilemma, Dairy Council of California delivers an authentic, “hands-on” learning experience for California children to connect them with the agricultural source of the milk and dairy foods they enjoy. Our Mobile Dairy Classroom assembly was first launched in the 1930s and has evolved into a robust educational experience. Quite simply, this early “Farm to School” program teaches how milk and dairy foods are produced and how they contribute to healthy eating. Each day during the school year, six “units” crisscross the state to deliver assemblies in elementary schools. Each unit is comprised of a live cow and calf which are transported in a specially designed trailer and truck, with a trained instructor conducting the lessons. Through the assembly students learn about dairy cow anatomy and feed, the agricultural technology used on farms and how milk goes from the cow on farms to their stores or school cafeteria.
About 1500 assemblies are conducted each year, with the program reaching over 1.4 million students in the past three years. Benefits to the industry afforded by this program include increased awareness of the important role dairy farmers fill as suppliers of milk and products derived from milk, as well as the opportunity to dispel misperceptions about dairy farming practices.
Mary Anne Burkman, MPH, RDN
Monday, October 17th, 2016
IDF’s role in nutrition is to assemble science-based evidence that demonstrates the critical role of dairy in closing the nutritional gap, as well as proactively engaging with nutrition policymakers and key influencers. In addition to providing evidence, IDF aims to create awareness among intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), supporting the essential role of dairy as part of a healthy eating pattern.
The priority areas for identified for 2016-18 include: 1) promoting the role of the dairy matrix supporting optimal health, 2) engaging in, explaining and promoting the interface between nutrition and sustainability, and 3) promoting the important role of the dairy sector in reducing undernutrition and micronutrient deficiency with a naturally nutrient-dense food.
IDF aims to serve in both a responsive and proactive role in addressing nutritional issues that impact the dairy industry. To illustrate this “responsive” role, there are many cases where IDF is able to provide expertise and input into the development of international regulations and nutrition standards – through FAO and Codex, for example. This year, IDF responded to the call for input into the United Nation’s CFS HLPE report on Sustainable Agricultural Development for Food Security and Nutrition, including livestock.
An example of IDF’s “proactive” strategies this past year can be demonstrated through the compilation of a library of exemplary educational campaigns and programs developed by the dairy industry that address healthy eating, specifically in efforts to reduce malnutrition.
Because nutrition is at the forefront of an international agenda, with the UN Decade of Nutrition and the Second Sustainable Development Goals dedicated to food security and nutrition, IDF’s voice is crucial in communicating the essential role dairy plays in nourishing the world with safe and sustainable foods.