Monday, January 30, 2012

Introducing Tray Talk - A School Nutrition Resource for Parents

Food and Nutrition Services is a member of the national School Nutrition Association.  The School Nutrition Association and its members know that parents are critical partners in teaching children to make nutritious food choices at school. Learn how you can get involved and support healthy school meals. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Students Eat Farm Fresh Kumquats and Strawberries

“What is that and how do I eat it?” was the question asked by almost 600 Wesley Chapel Elementary students as they were greeted in the school cafeteria with a Farmer’s Market displaying baskets full of kumquats, strawberries, apples, blood oranges, bok Choy, beets, and other fresh fruits and vegetables. 

The Food and Nutrition Services Department for Pasco County Schools partnered with Fresh Point Produce and the Kumquat Growers of Dade City to offer students a taste of locally grown Dade City Kumquats and Plant City Strawberries as part of the district’s Farm 2 School Program. The food service staffed dressed as farmers and handed each student a sample cup containing a fresh kumquat and strawberry. 

The students’ facial expressions were priceless as they bit into their first kumquat.  Many didn’t realize they could eat the skin, so to help reduce the fear of the unknown, food service employees challenged the students to a “let’s do it together” race.  Students chanted “Just keep chewing, just keep chewing” as they experienced the inside out sweet and sour taste of fresh kumquats.

Students loved the bright red and juicy sweet strawberries, and many enjoyed the unique sweet and sour taste of the fresh kumquats. 

In February, the Food and Nutrition Services Department will feature fresh Plant City Strawberries on school menus in all Pasco County schools.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Task Force Seeks Input on 4 Day School Week Option

The Task Force exploring the possibility of a four (4) day school week in Pasco County will be hosting a series of public forums designed to gather feedback from the community on this concept.  Stakeholders are encouraged to attend in order to learn more about the District’s ongoing budget crisis and to share their; views about the possible implementation of this cost-saving measure.  Information about each of the forums is below:

February 9, 2012: Pasco Middle School Auditorium - 6:30 p.m.

February 15, 2012: Charles S. Rushe Middle School Cafeteria - 6:30 p.m.

February 16, 2012: River Ridge Performing Arts Center - 6:30 p.m.

“In order to find creative solutions to our funding needs without jeopardizing the availability of programs and services for students, our Task Force has spent a great deal of time researching the implications of a possible four day school week,”  said Task Force Chairman Steve Luikart.  “We believe it is important to stay open minded, so that we can make the best possible decisions for our students.  Our Task Force is eager to have community input and has gathered feedback via an online survey.  These forums are one more way to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to weigh in on this important topic, he added. 

For more information about the public forums, please contact the District’s Communications Department at 813-794-2717

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Please complete the District’s Elementary Magnet School Survey

The District School Board of Pasco County invites you to participate in its online survey to obtain family and community input about elementary magnet schools. The District is exploring this exciting development for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Magnet schools across the nation offer unique opportunities for students to grow their abilities in specific areas of interest.  To help the District in better understanding what most appeals to students and families about the magnet school concept, please take a few moments to share your ideas with us.

The survey can be found at the following link:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Student Art Needed

Effective 2012, the Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness in Tallahassee at the Florida Department of Agriculture is now administering Child Nutrition Programs for the state of Florida.

They were formally called the Division of Food and Nutrition Management and were under the Florida Department of Education.  They are now in their new offices and would love to have student artwork featuring fruits, vegetables, and a fresh produce message to decorate their blank walls.  

All students are invited to submit a poster or photograph to decorate the walls of the Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness in Tallahassee with a fruit and vegetable message. Examples could be: students working in a school garden, eating their favorite fruit or vegetable, or farm to school efforts. Be creative!

Photographs and posters must be a standard size of 11x15 up to 17x21. Use crayons, paint, markers, colored pencil, chalk, watercolor, etc. Please include the school’s name and grade level (if applicable).  Artwork is due Wednesday, February 29, 2012. Posters and photographs can besent to: 

Katie Rainka, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Coordinator

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness

600 S. Calhoun St., Suite 120

Tallahassee, FL 32399

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