Gilbert, AZ (PressExposure) February 24, 2011 -- Arizona Farm Bureau's Food Check-Out that runs this week focuses on helping Arizona families stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious and yummy food. Part of the celebration occurs at the state capitol this Thursday, February 24th.
NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace joins Arizona Farm Bureau's Women's Leadership Committee as they deliver homemade apple pies to Arizona's state representatives and senators at the Capitol from 10a.m. to noon this Thursday. Made by local Willcox apple farmer Ann Holcomb, of Apple Annie's, each apple pie will also contain information about Arizona's $10.3 billion agriculture industry.
Arizona Farm Bureau's Food Check-Out Week is aimed at helping Arizona families learn how to shop strategically to put nutritious meals on the table with fewer dollars. "Learning to use your grocery dollars wisely helps ensure that nutrition isn't neglected," according to Sharla Mortimer, Arizona Farm Bureau's Women's Leadership Committee Chair and rancher from Yavapai County.
"Fruits and vegetables - along with whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, beans, eggs and nuts - are an important part of a healthy diet. Buying fresh produce when it's in season costs less, while buying frozen fruits and vegetables when they're not in season, is a smart way to stretch that dollar," says Mortimer.
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Kenny Wallace, who serves as spokesperson for family farmers for the 2011 racing season on behalf of the Family Farmer coalition that includes the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB), the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA), the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC), and Marquis Energy, is collaborating with Arizona Farm Bureau's agriculture women since he's here for this Saturday's NASCAR race at Phoenix International Raceway. His first race of the season, Wallace will be driving the Number 09 Toyota Camry car.
"We know that Kenny is a strong driver and he has a fast car in the RAB number 09 Camry. But even better than that, he has proven to be a strong advocate for family farmers with a voice that is recognized and respected. Phoenix is a long way from Illinois, but we know that farmers and ranchers all over the country hold the same values: family, pride in their country, and pride in what they do," says Scott Stirling, ICMB Chairman and family farmer from Martinton, IL.
Wallace has competed in over 800 events in NASCAR's top-three divisions, including 488 Nationwide Series starts with nine wins, 10 poles, 63 top-five and 159 top-10 finishes. In addition to his on-track accomplishments, Wallace is recognized as one of NASCAR's most popular drivers and has been awarded the Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver award three times in 1991, 1994 and 2006.
"Getting to know the hard working family farmers of this country has been a fantastic experience for me," Wallace says. "I'm so excited to be their spokesperson, sharing the truth about what they do and the products and food that are made from their crops."
"The best part is that I've come to understand that our nation's farmers are just like you and me. They want what's best for their families, just like us. And like me as a NASCAR driver, they are responsible for their own work and take that responsibility very seriously. I'm humbled that they've chosen me to be their advocate with dedicated racing fans," Wallace continued.
Now in its 13th year, Food Check-Out Week also highlights America's safe, abundant and affordable food supply, made possible largely by America's productive farmers and ranchers. According to the most recent (2009) information from the USDA's Economic Research Service, American families and individuals spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their disposable personal income for food.
Women's Leadership Committee Representatives at the Capitol on Thursday:
Sharla Mortimer, Dewey (Ranching and Plant Nursery)
Linda Merrell, Duncan (Ranching)
Wendy Cavalliere, Yucca (Ranching)
Sonia Gasho, Pearce (Ranching)
Vickie Parks, Flagstaff (Ranching)
Diann Prechel, Casa Grande (cotton, wheat and alfalfa hay)
Jeannette Fish, Phoenix (staff)
Sine Kerr, Buckeye (dairy)
Jean McGrath, Peoria (Plant Nursery)
Sheila Van Hofwegen, Tolleson (alfalfa hay)
Peggy Jo Goodfellow, Mesa (staff)