Discover how we empower healthier children and communities through lifelong healthy eating patterns. Click to watch video and read below.
As I reflect on my first six months, as the new CEO at Dairy Council of California, I am honored to serve and grateful to the dairy community for entrusting me with this role. Prior to coming to the organization, I gained experience in public health nutrition at the local, state and national levels, working with partners and California residents to increase equitable policies and practices that support nutrition and reduce hunger in underserved communities. My background directly aligns with Dairy Council of CA’s cause and its rich 100-year history of supporting free nutrition education programs. I believe milk and dairy foods are part of the solution to achieving nutrition security.
I have been warmly welcomed by the dairy community and have seen firsthand its dedication to supporting comprehensive nutrition education programs. Dairy farm families and milk processors serve Californians with a variety of fresh, healthy and safe dairy products that provide essential nutrients and fit into healthy eating patterns across the life span. Our dairy agriculture literacy flagship program, the Mobile Dairy Classroom, continues to bring the farm-to-table story to life while teaching students the importance of healthy eating.
Everyone deserves access to healthy and nutritious foods. The value of good nutrition to prevent disease, improve achievement and contribute to overall health and wellness, something we have valued for over a century here, is gaining attention through the “food as medicine” movement. We continue to prioritize the unique nutritional needs of children, with a focus on the first 1,000 days of life to support communities in reaching their full potential. Our newest edition of The Healthy Eating TABLE equips health providers with science-based nutrition recommendations for people during pregnancy and early childhood.
I am proud to work with a creative and diligent team of diverse thought leaders, registered dietitians, nutrition advisers, instructors, marketing and communication professionals, and administrative staff to meet the needs of different communities through a wide array of nutrition programs and digital strategies like our Let’s Eat Healthy Together broadcast series. We know that no organization can truly elevate health alone, and that is why we value partnerships to maximize our collective impact—and the Let’s Eat Healthy initiative is a great place for collaboration and co-creation to advance healthy eating patterns that include milk and dairy foods. Through the Let’s Eat Healthy initiative we recognized nutrition champions across the state, awarded mini-grants to community-based organizations and hosted the first in-person summit this year. As we continue to activate our champion network, I look forward to seeing all that we can and will accomplish together to improve nutrition and health throughout California.
This report is intended to bring our cause to life, provide information about our programs and accomplishments and highlight strong partnerships that allow us to authentically reach communities to collectively achieve nutrition and health outcomes. On behalf of the entire Dairy Council of CA team and the board of directors, I am honored to share our 2022–2023 Annual Report with you. My hope is that the outcomes presented in the report demonstrate our core values and an appreciation of the dairy community’s commitment and contributions to elevating the health of children and communities in California. As we continue to work with dedicated partners across the state, I believe together we can achieve nutrition security for all Californians.
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.
Back in Full and Better Than Ever
The school year began with enthusiasm as teachers and students welcomed the return of in-person assemblies. Dairy Council of CA’s beloved Mobile Dairy Classroom proudly took the stage as one of the first assemblies to grace schools post-pandemic, creating waves of excitement.
For more than 90 years, Mobile Dairy Classroom has proven to be a valuable farm-to-school program, connecting students with the dairy community, fostering a better understanding of where food comes from and teaching the importance of milk and dairy foods in a healthy diet. Built upon lessons learned during the pandemic, Dairy Council of CA continued to meet the needs of schools outside the assembly zone with virtual Mobile Dairy Classroom field trips, providing a vibrant dairy agricultural literacy experience for students in California and beyond.
Adding to the excitement was the newly released Mobile Dairy Classroom online scheduler, a powerful tool that enables schools to self-register for assemblies, making the scheduling process smoother than ever before. In the spirit of growth and progress, Dairy Council of CA also welcomed two new full-time instructors, allowing assemblies for the first time in over a decade to schools in Ventura County and northeastern Los Angeles County.
Offered at no cost to elementary schools throughout California, Mobile Dairy Classroom assemblies and virtual field trips are powerful farm-to-school learning labs, bringing dairy agriculture education to life. Combined with our vast portfolio of nutrition education resources, Mobile Dairy Classroom makes a lasting connection with food and dairy agriculture literacy.
Mobile Dairy Classroom Enriches Summer Meals
During summer months students may lack access to nutritious foods. Summer Meal Programs can help fill this gap with free healthy meals. For the first time, Mobile Dairy Classroom visited summer meal sites in June to celebrate National Dairy Month, reaching 2,250 children at six schools.
Knowledge Is Power
Food and nutrition literacy refers to the ability to access, understand, evaluate and use food and nutrition information to make informed decisions about dietary choices and eating habits. It encompasses a range of skills and knowledge that enable people to navigate the complex world of nutrition and make choices that promote their health and well-being. Dairy Council of CA is dedicated to working collaboratively with educators, health professionals, community health champions and school foodservice professionals to support food and nutrition literacy of children and families. Following are highlights:
National Nutrition Month
National Nutrition Month in March is an opportunity to spotlight the significance of nutrition in maintaining good health and preventing chronic diseases. In support of community health education that spans a lifetime, Dairy Council of CA created a National Nutrition Month toolkit of resources for partners. For 2023’s Fuel for the Future theme, the toolkit helps share the value of nutritious foods like milk, yogurt and cheese as part of sustainable, healthy eating patterns that nourish the body while protecting the environment.
The National Nutrition Month 2023 toolkit received 1,089 web page views and 100 toolkits were downloaded, reaching thousands of people statewide.
The Key Informed Choices
Dairy agriculture literacy encompasses various aspects of dairy farming, including the production of milk and dairy products, animal welfare and sustainability practices. It presents an opportunity to bring awareness to the many positive health, environmental, economic and social impacts provided by the dairy industry.
To promote dairy agriculture literacy, Dairy Council of CA elevates partnerships to provide real-world educational experiences and help individuals and professionals learn more about the dairy industry and its practices. As people become more aware of the innovations, unique contributions and complexities of dairy agriculture, they can make more informed choices.
School Nutrition Professionals Experience Farm-To-School
Dairy Council of CA partnered with National Dairy Council to provide a behind-the-scenes tour of a local dairy farm to 38 school nutrition professionals. The event, hosted during the pre-conference workshops for the School Nutrition Association’s 2023 School Nutrition Industry Conference in San Diego, gave participants a hands-on farm-to-school learning experience.
Attendees came from across the country, including representatives from Fresno and Oakland unified school districts. The value of dairy in sustainable nutrition was further emphasized as attendees on the farm tour were also able
to participate in a Mobile Dairy Classroom presentation.
Post-Tour Survey Highlights
ImagineU Children's Museum—The Engagement Continues
A partnership with California Dairies Inc. and California Milk Advisory Board (and two years strong) used educational exhibits to provide dairy agriculture literacy for 71,000 children and families as part of the ImagineU Children’s Museum.
Moo-ving Forward: Exhibiting at World Ag Expo
World Ag Expo is the largest annual outdoor agricultural exposition with over 1,200 exhibitors and
an attendance of more than 100,000 each year. It is held at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, California.
Dairy Council of CA showed a strong presence at this year’s World Ag Expo, engaging with hundreds of attendees, students and teachers to showcase the breadth of Dairy Council of CA services, including nutrition education resources, Mobile Dairy Classroom and advocacy tools such as the DairyUp app. World Ag Expo provided ample opportunities to connect with California dairy farm families and milk processors and highlight how Dairy Council of CA works on their behalf.
Industry Collaboration Increases Dairy Agricultural Literacy Impact
Through California Milk Advisory Board and in partnership with Dairy Council of CA, the American Dairy Products Institute and MilkPEP created a milk label to support California milk processors with informational milk carton side panel artwork to convey the health and nutritional benefits of milk. The graphic also included the Let’s Eat Healthy logo and a QR code, further driving engagement traffic.
Let's Eat Healthy Television Broadcast Series Debuts, Wins Telly Awards
Let’s Eat Healthy Together is a 12-episode series produced by Dairy Council of CA in partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District’s wellness programs and PBS television affiliate KLCS.
Hosted by television personality and food educator Chef Monti Carlo, Let’s Eat Healthy Together invites elementary students on a fun food adventure and engages them in a dynamic way as they learn lessons about nutrition, agriculture, cooking, culture and the senses.
The series received the following honors:
The Telly Awards honors excellence in video and television across all screens and is judged by leaders from video platforms, television, streaming networks and production companies. Due to the expansive reach on both television and streaming platform, direct educational engagement increased by 22%.
The Real Deal
Hands-on experiences allow learners to be much more actively engaged in lessons. For dairy education, the tactile engagement of seeing and tasting dairy firsthand as part of instruction leads to better retention and comprehension of concepts compared to passive learning. Following is an example of Dairy Council of CA taste and teach partnerships:
Survey results showed that 88% of respondents agreed the additional resources and materials were helpful in making students excited about tasting dairy products; 100% of teachers agreed the students gained knowledge about the food
they tasted and increased their appreciation for agriculture.
One Meal at a Time
Dairy Council of CA created a Smarter Mealtimes resource page for early child care providers to promote healthy eating on HealthyEating.org in partnership with CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California and California Department of Social Services. It complements movement to its Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California for schools.
The new resource page, which had 196 page visits and 131 downloads, supports healthier meal programs that include milk and dairy foods.
Addressing Nutrition Insecurity: In California, many schoolchildren rely on free universal meals during the academic year. However, when school is out for the summer, these children may not have access to regular nutritious meals. Summer Meal Programs help bridge this gap by providing children with consistent access to food, including milk and dairy foods, during the summer months. Dairy Council of CA recognized the significance of summer meals and provided promotional information to stakeholders through its Summer Meals Partner Toolkit.
Campaign Outreach Results:
June is "Moo-velous"
National Dairy Month holds great significance as it advocates the nutritional and health benefits of dairy products, supports the dairy industry, offers educational opportunities, encourages healthy eating, raises awareness of dairy’s contribution in sustainable nutrition and celebrates cultural traditions that include dairy. In honor of National Dairy Month, Dairy Council of CA:
Dairy Council of CA partnered with Fuel Up to Play 60 and the San Francisco 49ers to create a promotional video celebrating California dairy and featuring former 49er player and Director of Alumni Relations Guy McIntyre.
Culturally Responsive Nutrition
The National Association of County and City Health Officials granted Dairy Council of CA $20,000 to spearhead the
creation of culturally tailored resources aimed at aiding Latino and African American families in promoting nutrition for infants and toddlers through funding from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention. Dairy Council of CA led the project, collaborating with essential partners to develop these vital resources.
Dairy Council of CA collaborated with University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and two of its physician training programs, Leadership Education to Advance Diversity-African, Black and Caribbean (LEAD-ABC) and Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC)—along with Boston-based BOND of Color. The new resources, which align to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and tailor to cultural dietary preferences, will be provided to communities in early 2024.
Let's Eat Healthy Community Grants
Advancing the Let’s Eat Healthy Initiative, four $5,000 community grants were awarded to community partners that entrusted Let’s Eat Healthy champions to support equitable access to science-based nutrition education and food and agricultural literacy that encompasses the role of dairy in sustainable food systems. Funds also made healthy, wholesome foods, including milk and dairy, more accessible. Grant awardees are listed below:
Cooking Up Change is a program that challenges high school culinary students to create healthy school meals that taste great to their classmates while meeting the USDA requirements of the National School Lunch Program. Dairy Council of CA was a proud sponsor of the Cooking Up Change challenge in Orange County, participated as a judge, and worked with a local dairy to supply milk. The winning team’s recipe highlighted yogurt. Cooking Up Change intentionally reaches youth in low-income communities and schools of greater Orange County.
World School Milk Day is an annual observance dedicated to promoting milk and dairy foods among schoolchildren worldwide. It aims to raise awareness of the nutritional benefits of milk, improve children’s access to this essential food source, and highlight the role of dairy in supporting healthy growth and development. World School Milk Day serves as a platform for educational initiatives, community events and global collaboration to enhance children’s nutrition and overall well-being.
World School Milk Day came alive as Mobile Dairy Classroom assemblies crisscrossed the entire state. Mobile Dairy Classroom instructors and community nutrition advisers didn’t just deliver speeches; they brought enthusiasm and hands-on education to every student.
Local partners, which included school districts, dairies and other dairy enthusiasts, joined together to elevate Dairy Council of CA’s World School Milk Day Activation Guide across the digital landscape, resulting in 42 downloads. This guide was a goldmine of information bursting with engaging messaging, student milk pledge cards and an interactive activity sheet that allowed students to express the reasons they enjoy school milk.
Dairy Council of CA also partnered with Dairy Management Inc. to deliver the Los Angeles Rams’ $10,000 Hometown Grant to Culver City Unified School District on World School Milk Day during a Mobile Dairy Classroom assembly. The check presentation included a milk toast with 550 students, the Rams mascot and cheerleaders.
When students went back to school in the fall, Dairy Council of CA was right there in excitement and support, launching the popular Back-to-School campaign to support the nutrition security of children, families and communities.
The campaign featured nutrition education and social media resources for teachers, school foodservice professionals and health educators to share and amplify.
The campaign had 5,348 views of the dedicated Back-to-School web page and 106 downloads of the Let’s Eat Healthy toolkit supporting well-nourished students.
The air was electric with a sense of collaboration, celebration and community as Dairy Council of CA hosted the inaugural Let’s Eat Healthy Summit, welcoming initiative members, supporters, collaborators and leadership award winners. The event showcased the contributions and impact of nutrition champions in activating the Let’s Eat Healthy Initiative.
The 2023 Let’s Eat Healthy Summit, themed Working Together to Advance Sustainable Nutrition Across California Communities, was attended in person and virtually by over 125 change-makers including school foodservice, nonprofit organizations, school districts and government agencies. Participants across the state came together to exchange ideas, gain knowledge, connect with others and find inspiration in their efforts to promote collaborative solutions that enhance the well-being of children and communities while also being sustainable.
The summit featured motivating speakers, including keynote presenter Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Nutrition Services Division Director Kim Frinzell of the California Department of Education, and several local school and community champions. Speakers touched on the importance of collaborative action to advance nutrition security and build healthy, sustainable food systems so individuals and communities can thrive.
Eight nutrition champions were also honored at the Let’s Eat Healthy Summit for their commitment and contributions to empowering children, families and communities to develop lifelong healthy eating patterns. The award recognition program is a flagship of the Let’s Eat Healthy initiative and shines a spotlight on the powerful work being done for nutrition education and healthy food access for students and communities.
Summit Activities Also Included:
2023 Let's Eat Healthy
Pictured starting at top row:
Advocating for milk and dairy foods is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about championing the dynamic range of benefits of dairy foods in healthy eating patterns, from nutrition security and overall health to cultural significance and economic opportunities. Dairy Council of CA works to elevate the power of milk and dairy foods as an integral part of a vibrant lifestyle.
NextGen Scientist Cohort Program
Dairy Council of CA collaborates with stakeholders, including educators, health professionals and community leaders, in the shared goal of improving the health of children and families through healthy eating patterns and access to nutritious dairy foods.
One of those collaborations involved Dairy Council of CA and National Dairy Council (NDC). Together, they kicked
off the first activation of NDC’s NextGen Scientist Cohort Program in Sacramento, California. The program’s goal
is to cultivate young, diverse academics who understand that dairy offers unparalleled contributions to wellness, including impact on the planet, while protecting dairy’s place in dietary guidance. This three-day inaugural event:
Published in the Journal of School Health
Dairy Council of CA’s registered dietitians co-authored a paper published in the esteemed Journal of School Health titled, “Collaborative Strategies to Improve Nutrition Security and Education: Lessons Learned During a Pandemic.” The article addressed issues of nutrition security and solutions to improve nutrition and food access in the school environment, including:
Partnering With the NFL's Fuel Up to Play 60
Dairy Council of CA partnered with the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program alongside the San Francisco 49ers, the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers to present $10,000 Hometown Grants to four California school districts totaling $40,000. The grants were awarded during Mobile Dairy Classroom assemblies to advance healthy eating and physical activity initiatives. Funds were used to:
Inspiring Leadership in Action
Dairy Council of CA delivers thought leadership by engaging with key audiences and organizations through a variety of professional development and training platforms.
Staff participated in more than 10 conferences and, in partnership with experts, delivered over 30 presentations to advance milk and dairy foods’ unique and essential contributions to healthy, sustainable eating. A wide variety of professionals and community stakeholders attended these events, including:
Staff had the opportunity to educate and inform stakeholders from a variety of sectors, engaging with organizations, associations and coalitions such as:
Informing Strong Nutrition Policy
Dairy Council of CA has unique expertise in educating stakeholders about milk and dairy’s important role in nutrition programs, policy and dietary guidance. Staff participated in conferences and public comment sessions such as:
Dairy Council of CA advanced timely and science-based information on dairy foods’ critical nutritional contributions during the first 1,000 days of life, from conception to a child’s second birthday, supporting optimal growth and neurocognitive development. Advocacy efforts included encouraging policy and programs that improve nutrition security during this important life stage of infancy and early childhood with access to nutrient-dense foods, including milk and dairy foods.
The staff and key partners delivered numerous presentations and professional development sessions for health professionals, university researchers and child care professionals focused on addressing nutrition equity and nutritional needs in the first 1,000 days of life.
A Global Dairy Community
Collaboration is a key value shared within the dairy community worldwide. Dairy Council of CA was proud to engage in a four-day workgroup with dairy science leaders from around the world, held in Scheveningen, Netherlands. The forum provided a unique opportunity for dairy scientists to engage in learning from leading researchers in the fields of nutrition, food science and sustainability. Innovative ideas and opportunities for future research were shared, keeping dairy’s part in the solutions for sustainable nutrition at the forefront of science.
Effective and dynamic communication lies at the heart of empowering individuals and communities with knowledge and support to make informed dietary choices and improve their health. Increasing Dairy Council of
CA’s communication and marketing efforts and amplifying the unique contributions of dairy foods to sustainable, healthy eating patterns is more important than ever. In a world inundated with misinformation, ensuring that evidence-based nutrition education and information reaches those who need it most has become paramount. To this end, the organization has expanded communication channels, leveraging digital platforms, social media and partnerships to engage with diverse communities, not only sharing knowledge but also creating a space for dialogue and collaboration.
Following are highlights of over 101 unique external media placements:
Maintaining Relevance for Greater Impact
Dairy Council of CA’s Trends proprietary monitoring system and publications are an integral part of the organization’s success, enabling it to remain relevant, resilient and, ultimately, impactful. The Trends team, composed of registered dietitian nutritionists, health professionals and communication experts, meets three times per year to identify emerging nutrition and education trends based on a thorough analysis of data collected from scholarly journals, industry publications, news media and more. The resulting 2022 Trends: Food & Nutrition Issues Likely to Impact the Dairy Industry in the Next 1 to 3 Years and 2023 Trends: Food and Nutrition Trends for Education and Health Professionals publications equip key audiences with credible information and research on current food and nutrition topics.
Following are among the topics highlighted in this year’s Trends publications:
Understanding and acting on key trends supports professionals in their efforts to achieve nutrition security while advancing dairy foods’ important role in healthy, sustainable eating patterns.
Revised, Refreshed and Ready for You!
The DairyUp app, developed by Dairy Council of CA for the global dairy community, has emerged as a crucial asset for dairy farmers and milk processors, providing them with an effective means of communication to easily stay up to date with the latest messaging in dairy nutrition and science. Fact-driven information is provided in the following six categories:
Dairy Council of CA took this innovative mobile application, now in its fifth year, through a significant content and design refresh so the app can continue to serve as a comprehensive dairy information hub. In a digital age where misinformation abounds, the app serves as a trustworthy source of knowledge about the vast array of topics within the dairy industry.
Accessing the DairyUp app is easy! Simply download the app and use the UNIVERSAL login and password below to get started.
As we reflect on another year of remarkable progress and dedication, it is my honor to highlight the work of Dairy Council of CA in partnership with the California dairy community, which has been an integral part of the state’s agricultural heritage for generations. Working together, we continue to nourish people and exemplify the spirit of community and resilience while embracing innovation, environmental sustainability and stewardship.
As you read through the 2022–2023 Annual Report, you’ll see time and again that the dairy community’s long-standing support of Dairy Council of CA is a key part of our mission to not only produce milk and dairy foods but also support nutrition education in school and community settings to help children and families make healthier eating choices.
Looking back on the past year’s achievements, it is clear that Dairy Council of CA has continued to thrive and evolve under the leadership of the new CEO, Amy DeLisio. Amy has embraced the dairy community and diligently pursued her new role. Her dynamic leadership, unwavering dedication and innovative thinking have continued to ignite positive growth within the organization
Dairy Council of CA is composed of a team of dedicated professionals in the fields of nutrition, education, community health, agriculture and communications. With continued focus and efforts, Dairy Council of CA amplifies the value of milk and dairy foods through:
On behalf of the dairy community, thank you Dairy Council of CA for your rich history representing the dedicated farmers and processors across the state, and educating and advocating about the value of milk and dairy foods as part of sustainable, healthy eating patterns for people and the planet. Together, we make a difference nourishing and elevating the health of Californians!
John Dolan, Dairy Processor
Driftwood Dairy in El Monte, California
Dairy Council of CA is a nutrition 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 2022–2023 fiscal year.