Florida Grown School Lunch
WJHG – October 25, 2011
About one in five Florida schools serves fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally. That’s about to change. Starting in January every public school will have to serve Florida produce. Farmers, teachers and students were at the state capitol Monday sharing ideas about how to make school lunches healthier.
Fruits and vegetables were on the lunch menu Monday at the state capitol in celebration of the first Florida Grown School Lunch week. Growers turned the capital courtyard into a farmers market and discussed plans to bring more fresh Florida produce to public schools.
Scott Seddon was there. He is with Pero Family Farms. “It’s your next generation. If you teach kids now how to eat healthy they are going to continue that through their whole life.”
Right now about 11-hundred of Florida’s 53-hundred public schools serve locally grown fruits and vegetables. But starting in January they’ll all have to. Robin Safly says the change is part of a new Department of Agriculture Program to fight childhood obesity.
“Fresh produce is exactly what we want our children to eat, so why are we shipping it out of the state all the time?”
But getting fresh fruits and vegetables in to schools is one thing. Getting kids to eat them is something all together different. We asked these eight graders what they thought:
Reporter: Would you eat fresh fruits and vegetables if they were in your school?
Breanne Sorensen: Yes because they are yummy.
Reporter: What’s your favorite fruit?
Danielle Swearingen: Absolutely strawberries
Reporter Do you think there are enough fruits and vegetables in your school?
Danielle Swearingen: Absolutely not.
But it’s not just serving health foods, gardening is also being taught. Nathan Ballentine is teaching public school kids how to grow everything from carrots to spinach. “Schools could have gardens or mini-farms that could serve and funnel foods into their own cafeterias.”
Besides teaching kids to live healthier lives the program will also boost business for Florida Farmers.
The changes are set to coincide with a shift of school lunch responsibilities from the Department of Education to the Department of Agriculture. To make the switch the state had to receive approval from the federal government.