Food & Dining
USDA Announces up to $31 Million to Empower People to Make Healthy Eating Choices PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 11:49

Richmond, VA, Sept. 29, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is making up to $31.5 million in funding available to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) more easily afford healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Secretary Vilsack made the announcement with Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe in Richmond.

"Too many struggling families do not have adequate access to nutritious food," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Helping families purchase more fresh produce is clearly good for families' health, helps contribute to lower health costs for the country, and increases local food sales for family farmers. Public-private partnerships with non-profit organizations and other community groups are already proving to have great success across the country. These resources will allow partnerships like these to help even more families."

The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, a new Farm Bill program, brings together stakeholders from distinct parts of the food system and fosters understanding of how they might improve the nutrition and health status of SNAP households. Under FINI, applicants may propose relatively small pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, or larger-scale multi-year projects. Funded projects will test community based strategies that could contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants through incentives at the point of purchase, supported by effective and efficient benefit redemption technologies, that would inform future efforts.

NIFA will give priority to projects that:

  • Maximize the share of funds used for direct incentives to participants
  • Test innovative or promising strategies that would contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants, which would inform future efforts
  • Develop innovative or improved benefit redemption systems that could be replicated or scaled
  • Use direct-to-consumer sales marketing
  • Demonstrate a track record of designing and implementing successful nutrition incentive programs that connect low-income consumers and agricultural producers
  • Provide locally- or regionally-produced fruits and vegetables, especially culturally-appropriate fruits and vegetables for the target audience
  • Are located in underserved communities, particularly Promise Zones and StrikeForce communities.

All FINI projects must (1) have the support of a state SNAP agency; (2) increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers participating in SNAP by providing incentives at the point of purchase; (3) operate through authorized SNAP retailers, and be in compliance with all relevant SNAP regulations and operating requirements; (4) agree to participate in the FINI comprehensive program evaluation; (5) ensure that the same terms and conditions apply to purchases made by individuals receiving SNAP benefits as apply to purchases made by individuals who are not SNAP participants; and (6) include effective and efficient technologies for benefit redemption systems that may be replicated in other states and communities.

Applications are requested in each of the following three categories: (1) FINI pilot projects (awards not to exceed $100,000 over one year); (2) multi-year, community-based FINI projects (awards not to exceed $500,000 over no more than four years); and (3) multi-year, FINI large-scale projects (awards of $500,000 or more over no more than four years).

FINI is a joint effort between NIFA and USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees SNAP and has responsibility for evaluating the impacts of the incentive projects. This solicitation combines funds for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. There will not be a solicitation in fiscal year 2015. Applications are due Dec. 15, 2014. NIFA will host a webinar for applicants on Oct. 2 at 2 p.m., EDT.

Funding for the FINI program is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

SNAP - the nation's first line of defense against hunger - helps put food on the table for millions of families experiencing hardship. The program has never been more critical to the fight against hunger. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children, and 42 percent of recipients live in households in which at least one adult is working but still cannot afford to put food on the table. SNAP benefits provided help to millions who lost their jobs during the Great Recession. For many, SNAP benefits provide temporary assistance, with the average new applicant remaining on the program 10 months.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is at www.nifa.usda.gov.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).


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Citispoon Partners with Quad Cities Dining Guide PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Dapo Kolawole   
Friday, 26 September 2014 15:33

We're excited to announce that Citispoon has partnered with Quad Cities Dining Guide; the essential guide to restaurants, helping its readers to prepay for their dining experience and provide real time table availability to top dining spots through our dining apps coming out this fall. Now Quad Cities Dining Guide readers can access restaurant tables easily via the magazine’s website.

Check out Citispoon on Quad Cities Dining Guide.com here.

Quad Cities Dining Guide.com shares in our mission of making it easy for everyone to have access to that highly desirable table. Together we can reach an even wider audience of passionate diners who seek the convenience Citispoon offers.

Please tell your friends to check Citispoon out on Quad Cities Dining Guide.

 
Barley & Rye says "Thanks!" PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Chef Jared   
Friday, 26 September 2014 09:25

We would like to thank you for making our first summer in downtown Moline a great success! Without all of our great farmers and our guests who are as excited about the farm to table concept as we are this summer would not have been so much fun and exciting for us! We started participating in the grower's market this year and from that has come some great partnerships for our restaurant that helps us achieve our goal of using local fresh ingredients.

Party season is right around the corner and we already have begun taking reservations!   We can take reservations for smaller parties for your friends or large parties for the whole office. We have had great success lately with some larger groups and are excited to plan some more great events with you. Call us now and let's get the party started.

Barley & Rye Bistro

1320 5th Ave

Moline, IL 61265

 
Governor Quinn Presents Gene & Jude’s with Inaugural “Enjoy Illinois: Delicious Destination” Award PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Katie Hickey   
Friday, 26 September 2014 08:50

New Award Highlights Illinois’ Growing Tourism Industry and its Key Role in Illinois’ Economic Comeback

RIVER GROVE – Governor Pat Quinn today honored the iconic Chicago area hot dog stand Gene & Jude’s with the first-ever “Enjoy Illinois: Delicious Destination” award. The new culinary designation celebrates local food establishments that are beloved stops for visitors and locals alike. The award also highlights the important role Illinois restaurants play in Illinois’ economic comeback.

“This award recognizes restaurants that are staples in the communities they serve and are unique to Illinois, such as Gene & Jude’s,” Governor Quinn said. “The state’s thriving restaurant industry plays a major role in our economic comeback by attracting visitors and creating jobs. I congratulate Gene & Jude’s on their history in Illinois and for being named our first official ‘Delicious Destination.’”

The Governor and tourism officials today also opened the nominating process for more unique restaurants around the state to garner the title as a “Delicious Destination.” In the coming months, Illinois tourism officials will travel around the state to present additional “Enjoy Illinois: Delicious Destination” awards. To be considered, restaurants must be nominated by a local Convention & Visitors Bureau, community member or an “Enjoy Illinois” social media fan.

Nominated restaurants must be unique to Illinois and an established part of its community and award winners will be chosen by the Illinois Office of Tourism. For more information about the state’s culinary offerings and “Enjoy Illinois: Delicious Destination” awards, visit www.enjoyillinois.com.

“From family-owned restaurants with long and storied histories to the hottest new cuisines in the world, Illinois has emerged as a premier culinary destination for both domestic and international visitors,” Illinois Office of Tourism Director Jen Hoelzle said. “Gene & Jude’s nearly 80 years of delicious history in Illinois and wonderful staff made it a great selection for the first ‘Enjoy Illinois: Delicious Destination’ award.”

The culinary industry accounts for 515,600 jobs in Illinois, or about 9 percent of the state’s employment. In addition, many travelers come to Illinois or extend their stay because of the state’s flourishing restaurant and culinary scene. According to a 2013 D.K. Shifflet & Associates Study, 28 percent of leisure travelers to Illinois report a “culinary experience” as a key part of their vacation. The study also detailed Illinois’ tourism workforce grew to 301,100 in 2013, adding 2,400 new jobs to the state. The numbers highlight the tourism industry’s vital contributions to Illinois’ economic growth, job creation and tax revenue.

Today’s announcement follows last week’s news that the Illinois unemployment rate hit a six-year low in August when it fell to 6.7 percent. This is the lowest rate since August 2008 and a continuation of an uninterrupted drop in the state jobless rate that began in late 2013. The number of people employed in Illinois remains above six million, continuing a 2014 trend that has seen more people working in this state than at any time since early 2009.

Gene & Jude’s Red Hot Stand was founded in 1946 on Polk and Western Avenues in Chicago, serving classic hot dogs and fries to loyal customers. The restaurant expanded and moved to its current location in 1950. Gene & Jude’s continues to amaze diners with mouthwatering dishes served with the highest standards of quality. The beloved stand has received recognition as serving the best hot dog and fries in the country by celebrity chefs, food critics and others.

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A Toast to Our 2nd Favorite Adult Beverage PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 22 September 2014 07:30
Wine Aficionado Shares Tips for a Full-Bodied Experience

Slide over, sweaty mug of brutish beer; wine has stepped up its game!

In the past two decades, zins, cabs and chardonnays have soared in popularity among imbibing Americans. The preference of just one in four in 1992, its now the alcoholic beverage of choice for 35 percent of us, according to a 2013 Gallup poll. At the same time, beer has taken a tumble, from the favorite of nearly half of us to just 36 percent.

“Wine is an adventure in a glass – something other cultures have recognized for centuries,” says Howard Kleinfeld, author (as Howard K.) of “Dial M for Merlot,” www.DialMforMerlot.com, a fun novel about a lovelorn nerd whose world snaps to life with his first wine tasting.

“For a long time in this country, we viewed wine as an elitist beverage. Just to be eligible to uncork a bottle required a scary level of sophistication. I have great respect for connoisseurs and the sommeliers, but if you’ve ever attended a wine tasting, you quickly see wine is actually the great equalizer.”

For those who’ve never visited a vineyard or sipped a Gewurztraminer, Kleinfeld offers these tips to free up your palate -- and your psyche -- for a full-bodied experience.

1.  What’s the best wine?
You’ll find all kinds of lists purporting to distill the top 10 or top 100 best wines of the thousands upon thousands of new releases each year. They are a wonderful resource for information and a great starting point, but there is no substitute for personal exploration.
“The best wine is always whatever’s in your glass at the moment,” Kleinfeld says, “unless whatever’s in your glass makes you grimace, in which case …”

2.  Don’t drink it if it doesn’t make you happy.
Life really is too short to not make the most of every moment – and every sensual experience.
“I learned that in 2007 when I was diagnosed with throat cancer at, what I felt was, a very young age,” Kleinfeld says. “I got through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation with the love and support of my family and friends, but I lost my sense of taste for a few years.”
Cancer-free and with all of his senses intact, Kleinfeld says he has resolved to enjoy every sip of life.
“Don’t waste your time on wine you don’t enjoy. Save it for cooking,” he says. “Drink something that puts a smile on your face. And remember – there are all kinds of smiles.”

3.  Go ahead and shell out $50 or $100 on a wine you just have to taste again.
A lot of us think California and Napa Valley when we think domestic wines, and while The Golden State is the No. 1 producer in the country (followed by Washington, Oregon and New York), every state now has wineries. That means that wherever you are, there’s a wine tasting room within driving distance.
“If you go to a wine tasting and you sample something you absolutely love, something you know you want to taste again – maybe with a steak, which they don’t usually have at wine-tasting rooms, go ahead and buy it,” Kleinfeld advises.
“Forget that it costs three or four times what you (might) usually spend for a bottle of wine. Splurge. See tip No. 2.”

4.  Forget the red with meat, white with fish and chicken rule – unless it works for you.
The idea of pairing red wines with red meats has to do with the bolder flavor of both. Fish and chicken tend to have milder flavors, as do many white wines.
“But there are so many exceptions to those ‘rules’ you may as well just toss ‘em,” Kleinfeld says. “They don’t take into account the range of flavors of meat, fish and chicken, especially when you consider all the different ways they can be prepared. And if you’re not a fan of Riesling, for instance, you won’t like it no matter what you pair it with.”
Be an adventurer, he advises. Open a few different varieties of wine when you sit down to eat and explore different pairings.
“The entrees and wines you best enjoy together are the perfect pairings for you.”

About Howard Kleinfeld (Howard K)

Howard Kleinfeld is a full-time wine enthusiast, part-time foodie, and first-time author. His new novel, “Dial M for Merlot,” www.DialMforMerlot.com, written under the pen name Howard K, follows a 30-year-old math whiz’s intoxicating journey of wine discovery. Kleinfeld is a longtime singer-songwriter whose compositions/productions for advertising, TV shows and indie films have earned him Emmy, Telly and Addy, awards.

 
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