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Central Valley

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

How safe are California hospitals in the event of a major earthquake? Answers and more in our Daily Briefing.

Picture of Yesenia Amaro

From greener school lunches to required nutritional information printed on fast-food menus, it's clear that state and federal governments are urging Americans to take control of their health -- starting with food. This is part four in a four-part series.

Part one: Convenience often trumps nutrition

Part two: Committed to nutrition

Part three: Providing healthier choices

 

Picture of Yesenia Amaro

In an effort to promote healthier eating habits among students, Merced County school officials are eliminating foods high in fat from school meal offerings and replacing them with fruits, vegetables and other nutritious alternatives. This is part three in a four-part series.

Part one: Convenience often trumps nutrition

Part two: Committed to nutrition

Part four: No escape from healthy lifestyle effort

Picture of Yesenia Amaro

Candy bars, Pop-Tarts and french fries were always on the menu in Ruth Sanchez's daily diet.

For years, the 17-year-old consistently made poor eating choices. "Fast food is what I would eat the most," she recalled.

Ruth, a former Merced Scholars Charter School student, said the two main reasons she turned to fast food were because it was affordable and easy to get.

"You are on the run, and you are going to get something from the $1 menu," she explained. "It's quick and it's the cheapest."

Not only did Ruth, who weighs 183 pounds, make the wrong choices when it came to eating, she also didn't live an active life.

That's no longer the case. She has made a dramatic change in her habits.

This is part two in a four-part series.

Part one: Convenience often trumps nutrition

Part three: Providing healthier choices

Part four: No escape from healthy lifestyle effort

Picture of Pauline Bartolone

California's Central Valley grows fruits and vegetables for the whole country, employing farm workers to care for and harvest the produce. But the recession and drought conditions have forced farm workers out of work, and now many of them are in need of food aid.

Picture of Pauline Bartolone

A painful irony exists in California’s agricultural heart: farm workers, far too often, don’t have access to the fruits of their own labor.    

I thought about this irony, more than a year ago, when I first read about the massive drought relief food give-aways in the San Joaquin Valley. In recent years, demand at the food bank in Fresno County has increased four-fold. The State of California has spent millions on food aid to the region. And hunger is hitting a new set of people. 

Picture of Joy Horowitz

California's Central Valley, once called "the richest agricultural region in the history of the world," is a 400-mile-long swath of some of the world's most productive agricultural land. About one-fourth of the produce consumed in the United States is grown in the Central Valley -- and nearly half of all pesticides used in this country are sprayed on crops in the region.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

Investigative journalist-turned-GIS expert Ann Moss Joyner has made some pretty persuasive maps in her time. There was the map showing how an Ohio community’s water plant just couldn’t seem to serve a historically black neighborhood just hundreds of feet away, even as the plant’s water lines snaked miles to other, white neighborhoods.

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