New York, NY (September 2, 2020) – Today, siggi’s – the pioneer of lower sugar yogurt with simple ingredients – announced the inaugural grant recipients of siggi’s starterssm, a new grant program that looks to empower dietitians to improve community nutrition at the local level. Mary Lynn Kardell, RD, LMNT, Stephanie Hodges, MS, MPH, RDN, and Jacquelyn Oddo, MS, RD, LD will each receive one $20,000 grant, the largest grant awarded by siggi’s to date. In addition to the funding, grant recipients will receive ongoing mentorship and support from the team at siggi’s as they bring their proposals to life.
“We launched siggi’s starters to build on our support of the nutrition community and bring innovative ideas to life through funding” said siggi’s President and CEO Carlos Altschul. “The impact of COVID-19 across the country has only served to reinforce the need to partner, support and build access to healthy nutrition in local communities. We are inspired by the passion from registered dietitians and nutritionists to encourage healthy eating habits, and we’re committed more than ever to working together with the nutrition community to enact positive change.”
The three grant recipients developed thoughtful proposals with clear outcomes for sustainable change. All three proposals looked to broaden the understanding of nutrition in local communities and create more ways to access healthy food options:
• Mary Lynn Kardell’s program, Food Insecurity: Filling in the Gap Providing Meal Planning and Food Prep Training, is a culinary workshop in Omaha, Nebraska for low-income adults and teens that will focus on how to incorporate foods commonly available at food banks into nutritious meals. Kardell realized that the intimidation of not knowing how to cook using the foods provided at food banks led to people eating low quality meals elsewhere. Understanding how to eat nutritiously from food banks is especially important after the devasting effects of COVID-19. She hopes her program will empower participants by helping them develop culinary skills to nourish the body with limited resources.
• Stephanie Hodges’ initiative, Partnering with School Districts to Reduce Added Sugar in School Breakfast Programs, will collaborate with The Child Nutrition Cooperative (CNC), a school nutrition cooperative in Wyoming, to reduce added sugars in school breakfast menus by 10 percent beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. Hodges and the CNC will assess current offerings in local school districts and provide recommendations for alternative options with lower sugar, as well as develop a toolkit that can be utilized by other school districts across the country.
• Jacquelyn Oddo’s community garden program, ONE Health Grows: Combating Hunger, Chronic Disease, and Food Insecurity, aims to combat food insecurity in Youngstown, OH, a low-income community with limited access to fresh produce. In partnership with Gabrielle Monk, MS, RDN, LD, this program will be implemented at an onsite community garden and greenhouse from ONE Health Ohio’s (OHO) Dietetics and Nutritional Services Department. Volunteers, including other registered dietitians, will help program participants grow fresh produce and teach them how to properly store and prepare nutritious meals.
Launched earlier this year, siggi’s starters is based on the principle that a simple yet innovative idea can flourish and create positive change when paired with the right mentorship and support – similar to the founding principles that led siggi’s dairy founder Siggi Hilmarsson to create his signature skyr in 2005.
“Since the early days of siggi’s, I’ve been inspired by the passion for health and the entrepreneurial nature of the registered dietitians I met. As siggi’s grew, we always looked for ways to give back to the dietitian community, both in gratitude for their early support and in recognition of our similar mission – to make healthy, simple foods readily available and accessible,” said Hilmarsson. “Though the grant funding is important because it will drive the execution of these proposals, I also feel that the mentorship and relationship-building that’s core to siggi’s starters is key for long-term positive change. I’m excited to see how our partnerships with Stephanie, Mary-Lynn and Jacquelyn will blossom and make a long-term impact as the programs take shape.”
Supporting local communities has always been important to siggi’s. In addition to previous initiatives like Siggi Supports Entrepreneurs, the company has delivered product donations in its hometown of New York City directly to frontline healthcare workers during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, siggi’s made a commitment to advancing diversity internally and within the nutrition community, along with donations to Black Lives Matter and the African American Policy Forum. With more to come and an ongoing commitment to creating lasting change, the siggi’s starters grant program continues the brand’s dedication to supporting communities and empowering nutrition professionals. For more information about siggi’s starters, visit www.siggis.com/starters.
siggi’s dairy began in 2005 when Siggi Hilmarsson felt homesick for a staple of his childhood diet, skyr, a thick, creamy, high-protein yogurt from his native Iceland. The yogurts he found on shelves in the U.S. were much too sweet and artificial tasting for his liking. Using a recipe Siggi’s mother sent, he began making skyr in his small New York City kitchen. It tasted like home. Within just a few months, Siggi quit his day job, bought a whole lot of dairy equipment, and siggi’s dairy was born. True to Icelandic tradition, siggi’s products do not contain any artificial preservatives, thickeners, sweeteners, flavors or colors, and are made with milk from family farms in Upstate New York and Wisconsin. For more information about siggi’s and to find store locations, visit www.siggis.com.