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Educating Students One School at a Time

March 24, 2011
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Guest Post by Arlette, Florida Dept of Ag

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC,) schools are in a powerful position to effectively model and reinforce a wide range of healthful eating behaviors. In particular, they can encourage students to consume fruits and vegetables in their daily lives by offering these foods on school campuses.

“Fresh from Florida” is partnering with The UF/IFAS Expanded Food and Nutrition Program to do exactly that. Program coordinators in 25 counties have been busy in over 4700 Florida schools, encouraging students to sample the Fresh 2U commodities that are featured each month on colorful posters provided by the “Fresh from Florida” program. The partnership started in September featuring in season mango and carambola and will continue through the school year. Watermelon and cantaloupe will be the final commodities featured in June.

Program managers have a goal. By using in-school fruit and vegetable samplings, inclusion in the cafeteria menu, and nutrition education classes, students are provided with the opportunity to sample up to 20 Florida fruit and vegetable commodities while learning their nutritional benefits.

Last November, 5th grade students in Medart Elementary sampled snap beans, cucumbers and other Florida commodities in nutrition education classes led by Food and UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Nutrition Program Manager Shelley Swenson and Program Assistant Tara Craig. Students learned about food groups, fiber and how to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their every day menus.

Childhood obesity is a serious problem. We thank all of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program Managers and participating schools for taking on this initiative to act on this issue. You are doing a great job!

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