Discover how Dairy Council empowers healthier children, families and communities through nutrition education.
California has flexed and adapted organizationally for continued success. I am extremely proud of the work we do at Dairy Council of CA to elevate the health of children and families through the pursuit of lifelong healthy eating habits, where milk and dairy foods are positioned as vital to health.
This last year has also been a time of transition for me personally. After 25 years of service to Dairy Council of CA, I have decided to retire at the end of this year. It was not a decision that I took lightly. I believe strongly in our cause and over
the years have literally grown up with the organization. Dairy Council of CA has been my home.
The work we do here called to me very early in my career. I remember being a new nutritionist and visiting an elementary school cafeteria. I watched as a young boy took a carton of school milk and hid it in his jacket. My heart skipped a beat and ached for this student. The school foodservice professional with me that day informed me that the milk hidden in the boy’s jacket might be all he had to eat for the rest of the day. This was hunger and nutrition insecurity right in front of me, and I was compelled to act. I knew then that I would dedicate my career to making a difference in the health and nutrition of children and families, and Dairy Council of CA was the perfect organization for me to forge my career path and passion for helping others.
My first position with Dairy Council of CA was working with schools in local communities to integrate our nutrition programs, and I was quickly provided the opportunity to develop educational tools for families—what would be our first nutrition
education technology applications. During the years that followed,
I grew professionally, finding unique ways of supporting the organization in leadership roles. Ten years ago, I was honored to be entrusted with the role of CEO of Dairy Council of CA. During the past decade as CEO, we have embraced new opportunities, leaned into challenges and celebrated incredible successes. I have grown up here, raised my family while working here, and my heart will always be here.
I did not do this work alone. Dairy Council of CA is made up of a team of dedicated nutritionists, advocacy experts, health and wellness advisers, and communication and marketing professionals. We have a strong value for collaboration and are committed to working collectively across sectors, including our dairy community. Together, we champion milk and dairy foods’ unique and valuable role in achieving equitable and sustainable nutrition security. We strive to ensure milk and dairy foods are a valued part of nutritious food access for all, and a part of daily, healthy eating habits.
In a world that is ever changing, one thing that has not changed is the lifelong value that dairy brings to healthy eating habits and the good work we, in the dairy community, do each and every day. It is through the dedication, commitment and support of California dairy farmers and milk processors that Dairy Council of CA is able to successfully achieve the outcomes set forth. On behalf of the entire staff and board of directors, it is my honor to present Dairy Council of CA’s 2021–2022 Annual Report.
CEO, Dairy Council of California
From July 2021 to June 2022 Dairy Council of CA collaborated with influential health, education and foodservice professionals to educate children and families on the vital role of milk and dairy foods in daily eating patterns and to empower healthier communities.
The Original Farm to School Program for Over 90 Years
One of Dairy Council of CA’s flagship programs and the original farm to school program, Mobile Dairy Classroom brings dairy and agriculture education to life and holds a special place in the hearts of the dairy community. Mobile Dairy Classroom assemblies give students a chance to experience agriculture up close, providing many children with their first opportunity to see a cow in person. Offered at no cost to qualifying elementary schools, these learning labs teach students about agriculture and food literacy, using experiential learning to connect with food and the journey it takes to get to their school cafeteria. Assemblies are also offered virtually, educating more students and families throughout the world. Topics include the role of milk and dairy foods in supporting good health, cow care on the farm, the milking process and agricultural technology.
These assemblies complement our dynamic portfolio of nutrition programs, including K–12 curriculum, online learning resources, interactive games and Smarter Lunchrooms Movement strategies. Paired with free classroom lessons that emphasize healthy eating across all food groups, Mobile Dairy Classroom is a powerful and beloved educational experience generating value for dairy farming and dairy’s role in healthy, daily eating patterns, all while creating memories that last a lifetime.
Engagements Classrooms, Schools and Communities
Dairy Council of CA Let’s Eat Healthy educational programs help ensure that children and families across California are provided opportunities to develop food and nutrition literacy and achieve nutrition security. In 2021–2022 these efforts resulted in 4,036,000 educational engagements, equipping people with knowledge, skills and supports to develop lifelong healthy eating habits where they learn, live, work and play.
With schools facing critical and evolving needs, educators are seeking resources that can support both the physical health of students and their social-emotional well-being. This past year, schools began returning to in-person education, renewing opportunities for experiential, hands-on learning. Yet as in all settings, the demand for digital engagement remains. Adaptations to the family of Let’s Eat Healthy nutrition programs include a variety of resources that educators can easily embed into online and in-person learning platforms: digital documents, short and informative videos, grade-appropriate quizzes and games and more. Through collaborative efforts with educators, resources are continually being adapted and developed to span a variety of delivery models, meet educational standards, engage students and meet the diverse cultural needs of children and families.
Utilizing the Let’s Eat Healthy Nutrition Curriculum for 4th and 5th grade, and in collaboration with public health educators in Orange, Riverside and San Mateo counties, a video series was developed that resulted in 19,000 views during the school year. Educators placed a high value on the resources, stating, “My students look forward to the next lesson.”
Additionally, a collaboration with Los Angeles Unified School District’s Wellness Program and KLCS-TV, an educational broadcast station, resulted in content development for a nutrition video series for school-age children which is expected to launch in January 2023.
Schools are the heart of communities, yet nutrition education works best when reinforced beyond the classroom and within a variety of community settings. Nutrition education that can be tailored to meet the learning needs of diverse communities, while being grounded in cultural relevance and familiarity, is an important part of helping children, parents and families develop healthy eating habits. Let’s Eat Healthy programs and resources equip health professionals, community resource providers and other education champions with the support, knowledge and tools needed to implement innovative nutrition education in their communities.
A shining example of community education in action was activating a National Nutrition Month campaign to celebrate the cultural cuisines and traditions of local communities as part of healthy, sustainable eating patterns. This campaign received nearly 32,200 views to the DCC educator toolkit, increased utilization of nutrition resources and reached 94,100 students statewide.
Providing hands-on experiences about dairy agriculture builds awareness and value for milk and dairy foods as part of daily, healthy food choices. An example of this is a collaboration with California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom’s “Taste and Teach” program, where Dairy Council of CA and the Let’s Eat Healthy initiative provided 200 California teachers with sponsorships to support June Is Dairy Month lesson activities and milk and dairy food tastings. Beyond the classroom, experiential learning opportunities to develop dairy agriculture literacy and create connection with the “farm to you” resulted in 651,172 impressions. These learning opportunities included:
The Let’s Eat Healthy initiative values collaboration as a key solution to achieving nutrition security and community health. Dairy Council of CA continues to work toward collective impact with partners across disciplines and sectors, providing leadership through statewide collaborative efforts, including:
California Local School Wellness Policy Collaborative
Bringing together state leaders and organizations committed to improving student wellness and academic success.
Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California
Collaborating with school nutrition professionals to enhance school meal program access and utilize strategies in school cafeterias that nudge students in making healthy food choices, including milk and dairy foods.
Smarter Mealtimes Movement of California
Equipping early child care centers and providers with supports, resources and strategies to help preschool age children select and eat the healthiest foods at mealtime.
These relationships have resulted in 27 unique collaborations. Highlights include:
The school year started strong with World School Milk Day on September 29, 2021. World School Milk Day is held globally on the last Wednesday of September every year to celebrate the benefits and success of school milk programs. Dairy Council of CA celebrated World School Milk Day by educating and engaging over 90,000 students in school districts across California to highlight the important role milk plays in nourishing children through school meals.
For World School Milk Day, we:
For 103 years, Dairy Council of CA has a time-honored legacy of supporting health through nutrition education, advocacy and amplifying the value of milk and dairy products in healthy eating patterns. Now entering its third successful year, the Let’s Eat Healthy Initiative has grown to 297 advocates, including educators, school foodservice staff, health professionals, community leaders and the dairy community, who are working to ensure the unique and culturally diverse nutritional needs of children and their families are met. The Let’s Eat Healthy initiative invites multidisciplinary coordination, collaboration and co-creation to champion community health by teaching and inspiring healthy eating habits and making healthy, wholesome foods accessible and affordable to all, with milk and dairy foods playing an essential role.
VISION: We envision a future of nutrition equity, where each and every child has access to the healthy foods and supports necessary to reach their full potential for growth, health and learning.
CAUSE: Together, we ensure that the unique and culturally diverse nutritional needs of children and their families are met.
Through a wide range of solutions and tools offered by Dairy Council of CA, the Let’s Eat Heathy initiative provides a wealth of opportunities to engage in action across the priority areas of the initiative, including nutrition education and nutrition security, while inviting multisector stakeholder collaboration in support of initiative goals.
The Let’s Eat Healthy Leadership Award acknowledges and celebrates change-makers who demonstrate their commitment to inspire and champion healthy eating in local communities. In 2021–2022 the Let’s Eat Healthy Leadership Award was given to six recipients who embodied the spirit of the initiative. CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California; ImagineU Children’s Museum; and four professionals who work on behalf of school and community health and wellness were recognized for the positive impact they are making.
The Let’s Eat Heathy initiative will be most successful when individuals and organizations come together. Help elevate the health of children, families and communities by joining the Let’s Eat Healthy initiative at HealthyEating.org/Join.
Dairy Council of CA proactively educates, equips and informs local leaders, policymakers, educators, health and wellness professionals and the dairy community with important science-based, relevant and actionable information to ensure milk and dairy foods are valued as a solution to optimal health and remain a recommended part of daily, healthy food choices.
Podiums, Conferences and Webinars
Dairy Council of CA has built strong thought leadership and engaged with key audiences and organizations to advance milk and dairy foods’ unique and essential contributions to healthy, sustainable eating patterns. Through a variety of professional development and training platforms, staff connected shared values across sectors, including the dairy community, public health and nutrition and education environments. The following events demonstrate the range of engagements to educate and inform stakeholders:
Curating and Translating Nutrition Science into Action
Dairy Council of CA has unique expertise in staying abreast of the rapidly evolving nutrition landscape, curating consensus science and translating the body of research into actionable information for its audiences. Additionally, to educate on milk and dairy’s important role in federal nutrition assistance programs, staff seek opportunities such as providing informational research summaries to California dairy organizations to use when educating policymakers and other stakeholders. Another important way to advance this knowledge is through public comments on federal nutrition programs and policies, which are opportunities to share science-based solutions to help achieve nutrition security for children and families. Examples of public comments include:
Advancing Nutrition Science and Research
Achieving nutrition security requires Dairy Council of CA to continually look for opportunities to advance research that sheds light on ways to elevate the health of children and families through healthy eating patterns. Building strong relationships with leading academic institutions and respected researchers creates an opportunity to support impactful, relevant nutrition research and to participate in meaningful grant projects. For 2021–2022, these research projects include:
Dairy Council of CA utilizes a team of dedicated media and communication professionals to leverage outreach and support messaging to advocate for dairy’s role in healthy, sustainable eating patterns. The team’s communication and marketing efforts engage and equip audiences to elevate the health of children and families through the Let’s Eat Healthy initiative. The organization’s Trends process highlighted the fact that consumers want personalized, creative and usable material. Meeting this need by producing content that is both engaging and informative has increased traffic to the organization across a variety of social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, as well as at HealthyEating.org.
In addition to growing its social media outreach, Dairy Council of CA had over 100 unique external media placements and citings featured in publications such as Hoard’s Dairyman, Cheese Market News, Morning Ag Clips, Dairy Foods, Dairy Business, Ag Alert, Poppy Seeds for school foodservice professionals and more.
Dairy Council of CA’s CEO, Tammy Anderson-Wise, was also featured in a 20 minute Audacy Broadcasting interview that reached over 15,000 listeners across six radio stations throughout Northern California. She spoke with host Doug Thomas about Dairy Council of CA and June Is Dairy Month, and shared how she chose a career path helping children and families by advocating for nutrition equity, education and access.
Staying Current in a Changing World
Dairy Council of CA’s proprietary Trends monitoring system and publications are an integral part of organizational success and outreach. A team comprised of registered dietitian nutritionists, health professionals and communication experts diligently monitor trends in nutrition, policy and systems, health, education and consumer behavior. The team identifies current information to stay relevant, resilient and ultimately, impactful. The resulting Trends Fall 2021 and Trends Spring 2022 publications equipped health professionals, educators and the dairy community with credible information and research on the latest in trending nutritional issues, enabling organizations to influence, inform and create conversation on the health of children, families and communities.
The dairy industry is filled with resilient, caring, hard-working people who show up every day in hopes of making a difference. As we move closer to a post-pandemic environment with activities and routines returning to a more usual state, I am more grateful than ever for the work of my peers in the dairy industry and the work of Dairy Council of CA. Through the pandemic, and even as challenging times continue, we never once wavered. We continued to do to the work necessary to improve the health of children, families and communities by producing, supporting and educating schools, communities and organizations on the positive value of dairy products. Our long-standing partnership with Dairy Council of CA continues to be a key part of our long-term success.
Dairy Council of CA is led by highly qualified experts in nutrition, education, health and communications who are just as passionate as we are about the work they do to make a difference in the lives of children and families through dairy. Using evidence-based research and practices, Dairy Council of CA offers a variety of nutrition education programs and resources, while being actively involved in school communities, the health and nutrition space, food systems, food access and food policy. Additionally, through the Let’s Eat Healthy initiative, Dairy Council of CA is bringing together educators, health professionals, change-makers and community leaders to collaborate, co-create and implement dairy-positive nutrition education. Dairy Council of CA diligently works on our behalf to make sure dairy is included at all levels and that dairy literally has a place “at the table.”
As a fourth-generation dairyman, I am proud of the dedicated work dairy farmers and processors do each and every day to produce delicious and nutritious milk and dairy foods for people to enjoy. As dairy experts we must continue to advocate for dairy foods by helping educate communities about our commitment to caring for the land and animals and sharing the great progress made in reducing environmental impacts to make dairy more sustainable. Milk and dairy foods support the health of people and the planet, providing essential nutrients that are vital for helping children and families meet their nutritional needs for lifelong good health.
On behalf of the dairy community, thank you Dairy Council of CA for working tirelessly to elevate the health of children and families and support the dairy community. I look forward to our continued work together to improve the health of all communities and future generations.
John Dolan, Dairy Processor
Driftwood Dairy in El Monte, California
Dairy Council of CA is a nutrition education organization under the California Department of Food and Agriculture and guided by a board of directors representing California dairy farmers and processors. We would like to acknowledge and thank the following board members for their guidance and continued support during the 2021–2022 fiscal year.