Monday, March 29, 2010

SLV Students Start Own Food Revolution

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution is creating a nationwide buzz but students in the San Lorenzo Valley School District with help from SLVLOCALS, a grass roots food and nutrition advocacy group, are going a step further organizing a Health Expo to be held at San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School on Wednesday, March 31.

Press Release from SLV LOCALS:

FELTON, California Michelle Obama may be waging a publicity
war against childhood obesity, but high school students in the San Lorenzo
Valley are taking even more concrete steps to promote health in their community.
In a unique, cooperative effort spurred by local community group, SLVLOCALS (SLV
Local Organic Children's Advocates for Lunches in Schools), and sponsored by the
San Lorenzo Valley School District's Student Nutrition Services, nearly 100
freshmen will present a one-day Health Expo for their young neighbors at San
Lorenzo Valley Elementary School on March 31.

The high school students, from teacher Mark Christensen's Health Science
classes, will create and staff 22 booths with interactive elements to educate
the younger students in a memorable way. Among other things, the elementary
students will guess the sugar content in various drinks and look at globs of
Crisco representing the fat content in various snacks while they learn about how
sugars and fats in drinks and snack foods affect physical and mental well-being.
As part of a lesson about food safety, they'll learn a song about proper hand
washing, and at physical activity stations they'll go through obstacle courses
and feel their pulses as they learn how physical activity improves
cardiovascular and digestive health as well as mental focus.

San Lorenzo Valley Elementary principal, Michelle McKinny, and the high school's
principal and assistant principal, Michael Arredondo and Brian Mercer, are
delighted with the idea of the Expo.

"I like the way this brings the schools together," says McKinny. "And instead of
our students going to booths run by their parents you have the "cool" factor of
the teens doing the teaching."

Health Sciences teacher, Christensen, points out that the high schoolers benefit
as well. "There's no better way to learn a subject deeply than to teach it, and
this also gives my students a chance to be role models and experience the
satisfaction of doing something for the younger kids," he says.

The Expo is the brainchild of SLV LOCALS founder, Sue Kuivanen, whose group has
been working for a year in partnership with the school district's Student
Nutrition Services District Administrator, Kimberly Clark, on improvements to
the school lunch program. A key element that made the Expo a possibility was the
arrival of Student Nutrition Services intern, Jamie Keel, from San Jose State
University's Nutrition and Food Science Department. Keel, who also happens to be
a graduate of San Lorenzo Valley High, did extensive research for booth ideas
and educational content, planned event logistics, and served as the
communications hub for the project.

"This is a miraculous feat of collaboration," says SLVLOCALS' Kuivanen. "There's
no way our group could have found the hours to implement it ourselves, and here
you've got the high school, elementary school, Student Nutrition Services,
community volunteers, and even San Jose State playing a role. What a great model
for what can be accomplished in our public schools despite all the pressures of
reduced funding."

Kimberly Clark of Student Nutrition Services agrees. "This has come together in
such a positive way, and it fits in perfectly with our mission to not just
improve the nutrition the kids get, but also to educate them about the many ways
that food affects their health."

In addition to their collaboration on the Health Expo, SLVLOCALS and the
district's Student Nutrition Services have developed a "Farm to School" program
with local farmers in which farmers provide low-cost, and in some cases free,
fresh organic produce for student lunches. The district has also switched to
whole grain breads, hormone-free milk and other healthier menu items.

For more info about the food and nutrition program at the schools visit:

To get involved with SLVLOCALS visit their Yahoo group:
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