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Press ReleaseMonday, October 24, 2011
DOE Press Office
Florida Grown School Lunch Week Celebrated Statewide~ Event showcases importance of balanced nutrition for children ~
TALLAHASSEE - Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam today kicked off the first-ever Florida Grown School Lunch Week during a celebration event at the Capitol. Florida Grown School Lunch Week was established to help commemorate National Farm to School Month, a nationwide observance that ensures children obtain the highest quality food at school, fosters local farm job growth, and creates local economic development.
"The physical and mental wellbeing of our children benefits greatly when we encourage healthy eating habits both in our homes and in school," said Commissioner Robinson. "Florida's local farmers are an excellent resource to help us achieve this goal, and I am excited to team up with Commissioner Putnam to offer healthier meals for our students."
During the celebration event, local growers showcased the healthy foods they will be providing to Florida's public schools. The event also featured demonstrations by culinary staff who work with growers and schools, and displays from school districts highlighting the local foods in school lunches. Additionally, school-based nutrition education activities were provided to attendees to help them improve eating habits and establish an active lifestyle.
"Florida offers a wide variety of fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables," said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. "It is important to direct these wholesome foods to Florida's school cafeterias not only to support our economy, but, more importantly, to provide Florida's students the nutrition their minds and bodies need to grow strong. After all, our children are our most important crop."
Farm to School programs are widely recognized as an effective way to encourage healthy eating and boost local agricultural sales by bringing local vegetables, fruits and other products into schools. Over the past decade, the Farm to School movement has expanded across the United States with more than 2,300 programs in schools across the country.