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National School Lunch Week celebrated in Alachua County

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Eggplant is the star of school lunches throughout Florida this week.

As part of National School Lunch Week, which kicked off across the nation on Monday, Alachua County is hosting events throughout the week.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness oversees National School Lunch Week, held Oct. 15 through Oct. 19, in Florida. This year’s theme is “School Lunch – What’s Cooking?”

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chef Scott Seddon of Pero Family Farms visited Forsyth Woods Elementary School in Orlando to kick off the week’s events in Florida, according to a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services press release.

Jackie Moalli, nutrition education and outreach manager in the FDACS Division of Food Nutrition, and Wellness, said students who tasted the roasted eggplant “meatballs” made by Seddon received “I Tried It” stickers.

Moalli said National School Lunch Week is about providing schools with the opportunity to promote the healthy food choices that are offered through school lunches and increasing participation in school lunches.

“It gives us a chance to introduce something new into lunch,” she said. “Kids get the benefit of trying new things.”

Maria Eunice, food and nutrition director for Alachua County Public Schools, said elementary schools in the county were encouraged to invite parents to eat lunch at their children’s elementary schools on Thursday as part of national “Take Your Parent to Lunch Day,” which is Wednesday.

Jamal Sowell, special assistant to University of Florida President Bernie Machen, will be speaking at Eastside High School Thursday at 12:25 p.m. as part of the week’s events.

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