Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Students Learn about Nutrition

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Students Learn about Nutrition

Article excerpt

Englewood Elementary School partnered with Sarasota County Food and Nutrition Services to teach students how food is grown and the importance of eating healthy.

"I think they think it magically appears on their plates," Food and Nutrition Services educator Dan Washmuth said.

Washmuth, who was dressed up as an apple for a small skit, joined other food experts at the Oct. 18 event. A dairy farmer, a potato farmer and Dale McClellan, the Southeastern Farmer of the Year and president of M&B Dairy in Lecanto, talked about the importance of farming and how food is processed.

"Our goal is to reinforce with our children where their food comes from, and a lot of the food that's brought into our school system is grown locally," said Beverly Girard, director of Food and Nutrition Services.

On their way to the presentation at the gymnasium, students spied a cage on the grounds.

"Oh what a cute puppy," squealed one of the girls.

The animal wasn't a puppy, however; it was a 2-day-old calf. Local dairy farmer Glenn Peachy of Peachy Farms in Myakka City brought it as a surprise to show the students where milk comes from.

Presentations were given by potato farmer David Fleming, who showed students a short film about how potatoes are planted, harvested and grown. He even brought some spuds to show.

Some parents may have the misconception that school lunches aren't healthy, Patty McGreevy said.

McGreevy, who has been the food service manager at Englewood Elementary for seven years, said all of the meals are prepared from scratch with fresh ingredients.

"And most of the kids are trying the fruits and vegetables, which is awesome, because teachers are coming in with them and saying, 'Try this and try this," she said. "And they are."

Students also are learning the first steps about farming. Each class has planted and maintains a garden on the school grounds. …

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