The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week expanded its new MyPlate campaign for healthier eating by launching a video competition to promote the first message of the movement: make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

myplate-300.jpgParticipants are encouraged to capture on camera their suggestions for how to make produce a larger part of the American diet – and submit these clips for a cash prize.

The government unveiled the MyPlate image – a visual representation of a healthy diet according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans  – in July of this year. Now, months later, the number of organizations supporting the movement has doubled from over 2,000 to more than 4,000 groups, and the campaign has zeroed in on promoting the first tenet of its new initiative: fruits and vegetables should take up half the plate at mealtimes.  

It’s this message that’s the focus of the video contest, for which participants are asked to come up with a 30-second clip offering a creative, practical idea of how to make a meal that includes the recommended amount of fruits and veggies.

“By tapping into American creativity we can help families focus on healthier food choices and to make half their plate fruit and vegetables,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Monday.

Videos will be submitted in three categories:

– Tips for kids

– Tips when eating at home

– Tips when eating away from home

A first, second and third-place winner will be chosen in each category, and a total of $9,000 will be offered in prize money.

Results will be determined by USDA judges and revealed on December 15.  

The competition also includes a popular choice award, whose winner will be chosen by public voting on the MyPlate Fruits and Veggies Video Challenge website.