Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam Recognizes National School Lunch Week
~ Lunch Campaign Aims to Get Kids Excited About Healthy Choices ~
October 15, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Each year, more than 1.6 million school lunches are served throughout Florida via the National School Lunch Program administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness. In recognition of the positive changes Florida has made to its school lunch program, school districts from across the state will celebrate National School Lunch Week from October 15th-19th.
“National School Lunch Week allows Florida schools to highlight healthy foods, positive changes, and the local produce schools have incorporated into their menus,” said Adam Putnam. “The Department looks forward to showcasing our school nutrition accomplishments and continuing to educate the community on the importance of a nutritious school lunch.”
The 2012 theme, “School Lunch – What’s Cooking?” will include events and activities that promote the benefits of healthy school lunches.
The campaign goals are to:
- Provide schools with opportunities to promote achievements in schools, districts, and communities;
- Promote the message that school lunch in Florida is healthy and fresh; and
- Garner increased awareness of the importance of school meals and the role of school nutrition professionals in the community.
On October 15 as part of a kickoff event, Commissioner Putnam visited Forsyth Woods Elementary School in Orlando. The Commissioner was joined by Chef Scott Seddon of Pero Family Farms and prepared roasted eggplant “meatballs” for students to taste. Eggplant is the harvest fresh vegetable of the week and will be seen on school lunch trays throughout the state.
In keeping with the “School Lunch – What’s Cooking” theme, the Department has partnered with Share our Strength to compile a group of our state’s best chefs to create recipes for Florida's schools. The recipes utilize produce from our "Featured Produce" list and can be used in school cafeterias. The link to the Featured Produce of the Week List can be found at: http://www.freshforfloridakids.com/Sponsors/Promotions/FarmtoSchoolMonth.aspx.
Federal nutrition standards for school lunch ensure students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week; substantially increase offerings of whole grain-rich foods; offer only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties; limiting calories based on the age of children to ensure proper portion size; and increasing the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.
For more information about food and nutrition in Florida schools, please visit: www.FreshforFloridaKids.com.
For more information about the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.