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Bean Promotion Highlights
January 15, 2008

Research Shows Adults and Teens Who Eat Beans Weigh Less

A study unveiled in 2006 gives new meaning to the word beanpole  the findings show that people who eat beans weigh less than those who dont.

Presented at the Experimental Biology Conference, April 1-5 in
San Francisco, the study found that adults who eat beans weigh 6.6 pounds less  yet eat 199 more daily calories  than adults who dont eat beans.  Similar results were found for teenage bean eaters who consume 335 more daily calories but weigh 7.3 pounds less than non-bean eating teens.

Data for the study came from the National Nutrition and Health Examination Survey (1999-2002).  The results also show that:

"        Adult bean eaters consume less total and saturated fat than non-bean eaters and have a 22% lower risk of obesity.

"        Adult and teen bean eaters have smaller waist sizes  three-quarter inch and one inch, respectively.

"        The fiber intake of adult and teen bean eaters is more than one-third higher than non-bean eaters.

Schools Place Greater Priority on Improved Nutrition

Schools are placing a greater priority on improving nutrition. For example, many schools are implementing new policies that restrict or prohibit vending machine sales of high-fat foods and snacks, with high sugar carbonated and caffeinated beverages switched to bottled water, juices and milk.

A number of nutrition educators and food service personnel all went back to school last fall with information on including beans in school lunch menus.

Northarvest Bean home economist Lynne Bigwood participated in the N.D. School Nutrition Association annual conference last summer, as well as the Minnesota School Food Service Association state conference.

Bigwood encouraged attendees to use beans in their menus to help meet USDA school nutrition requirements.  Attendees at both events sampled Black and White Bean Salad and received The Bean Cookbook, as well as other materials relating to dry bean nutrition.

Many of these same educational materials were distributed by Bigwood at the Society for Nutrition Educators (SNE) annual conference, also held this summer.

Beans in the Living Ag Classroom

Northarvest Bean Growers participated in the Living Ag Classroom held last winter in Bismarck and Minot.  About 1,240 students with 200 teachers and chaperones from 66 schools attended the KFYR Agri-International Living Ag Classroom at the Bismarck Civic Center, where Lynne Bigwood of Northarvest led educational activities related to dry bean production and nutrition.  Living Ag Classroom at Minot, part of KMOT TVs Ag Expo at the State Fair Building, attracted 940 students in the Minot region.

Beans have major role in WIC program

The Women, Infant, and Children program serves low income, pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, and infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk. Nationally, WIC serves over 8.2 million mothers, infants and children, with nutrition services the centerpiece of WICs program mission.

Lynne Bigwood represented Northarvest at the Minnesota Department of Health WIC
Staff Conference held this spring in Brooklyn Center, Minn.  She helped people seeking information on ways to help their clients learn to use dry beans, sharing Northarvests new pinto and dry bean class posters along with 250 of the ever popular bean cookbook.

Bigwood also represented Northarvest at the National WIC
Staff Conference in Pittsburgh this spring, distributing educational materials.  She notes that over 2,000 cookbooks were ordered after the conference to be used at local sites.

RRV Living Ag Classroom attracts over 2,000

The Living Ag Classroom held this spring at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo was attended by over 2,000 fourth graders from 42 area schools. Ginger Knutson, retired elementary teacher, assisted Lynne Bigwood with a Bean Crazy game directed at kids.

Living Ag Classroom Impacts Regions Children

The Northarvest Bean Growers Association and other ag organizations participated in the 2006 Fargo Living Ag Classroom held at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds.

The purpose of the event was to provide students a learning experience about where food comes from.

Most of the 2,100 children visiting the Living Ag Classroom have never been on a working farm, says Karen Hertsgaard, Coordinator of the Fargo Living Ag Classroom project.  The Living Ag Classroom was a wonderful educational opportunity for students within 60 plus miles of the Fargo-Moorhead area, and I know the teachers and students appreciated the experience.

Based upon the letters received by Northarvest Bean Grower home economist, Lynne Bigwood, the event was indeed a success and had a tremendous impact on the students that participated.

Beans for breakfast?

The importance of breakfast is often stated, but exactly what you eat for breakfast is understated, and was an issue discussed at the N.D. Nutrition Council and N.D. Dietetic Association spring meeting, in which Northarvests Lynne Bigwood participated.

For example, eating a cereal breakfast with 1 cup of Wheaties or Cheerios, ½ cup skim milk, ½ cup strawberries, 1 cup orange juice equals 280 calories.  A bagel breakfast consisting of ½ of a large bagel, 1 tablespoon cream cheese and 1 tablespoon jam is also 280 calories.  The cereal breakfast delivers the same calories, but is rich in nutrients and fiber in every food, while the bagel breakfast has very little fiber, no fruit and is higher in fat.

It was noted that in
China and Israel, it is common for veggies to be eaten at breakfast.   Fruit is more likely to be eaten at an American breakfast compared to veggies, yet Americans eat an average of 1½ servings of fruit a day, less than half of whats recommended.

Northarvest at N.D. State Capitol

At Ag Day held during the N.D. legislative session at the state capitol in Bismarck, dry bean growers Mike Beltz (middle), Hillsboro and Don Streifel, Washburn, assisted Northarvest home economist Lynne Bigwood in handing out educational materials to state lawmakers.  The days events were coordinated by the North Dakota Agriculture Department and included a lunch featuring products from each of the exhibitors, including baked beans from Northarvest.


Hands on for North Valley Kids

Northarvest participated, for the first time, in the Grand Forks Water Festival last fall, a science-based event sponsored by the
Dakota Science Center in Grand Forks, N.D.  The event coordinator had received Northarvests Agriculture in the Classroom kit at the 2005 NDEA conference, and invited Northarvest to attend.  The Science Center used the suggestions in the kit as a basis for sending potting trays and information with the instructors to use as follow-up activities.

Six hundred fourth graders from
North Dakota and Minnesota participated in many hands-on activities.  Northarvest Bean Growers Association home economist Lynne Bigwood and Linda Kuster, Reynolds, N.D., led the Northarvest sessions and played an educational game, Super Bean Crazy, with the students.  Students learned about various facets of dry bean production, from planting, growth, harvest, and marketing. Northarvest furnished educational kits for teachers, and bean class and usage sheets for students featuring a new resource side explaining that Farmers in North Dakota are the number one producers of dry beans in the USA.

In a separate event last fall, Bigwood with Northarvest set up a display of educational materials for the NDSU Extension Family Nutrition Program conference.

NDSU Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health on the web:


Promotion Committee

The Northarvest Promotion Committee members create and direct promotion activities for the organization.  Current committee members are:

"      Mark Dombeck

        Perham, MN

"      Jon Ewy

        Deer Creek, MN

"      Paul Johanning

        Park Rapids, MN

"      Alan Juliuson

        Hope, ND

"      Nick Kitsch

        Webster, ND

"      Robert Landgren

        Wilton, ND

"      Jim Sletten

        Northwood, ND

"      Mark Streed

        Milan, MN

"      Julie Vculek

        Crete, ND

"      Dan Webster, Chair

        Penn, ND



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Northarvest Bean Growers Association | 50072 East Lake Seven Road | Frazee, MN 56544
Ph: 218-334-6351 | Fax: 218-334-6360 | Email: