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Students go healthy in food revolution

Levack Public School got in on the global food revolution last week, fighting back with healthy food and good eating habits.
Levack Public School Principal Stephen Winckel with senior students ready to dig into salsa and pita chips. Photo by Heather Campbell.
Levack Public School got in on the global food revolution last week, fighting back with healthy food and good eating habits.

On Friday, May 16, world-renowned chef and healthy food advocate, Jamie Oliver, declared the day as Food Revolution Day and encouraged schools and families around the world to make and eat good food.

The 170 students at Levack Public School joined 175 countries at 900 different sites around the world for the event.

Kim Daigle, a member of the Levack Public School Parent Council, approached Principal Stephen Winckel to get involved. She started with Oliver’s website that offered activities and recipes to join in on the day.

The menu was salsa and pita chips, and the entire school had a hand in the preparation. They also made flavoured water with lemons, mint and oranges.

“We had the Northern Fruits and Vegetable Program that had the tomatoes already coming in, so it was just an extra couple of peppers and onions needed,” said Daigle.

The Northern Ontario Fruits and Vegetable program is a healthy snack program for schools across the north. It began in the Algoma and Porcupine districts and recently moved to more communities including Sudbury this past April. There are now 76 schools in the area participating. Schools receive fresh fruits and vegetables every week from Ontario farms to encourage healthy lifestyles.

A dietitian and public health nurse from the Sudbury District Health Unit helped the kids to chop and mix up tomatoes, onions, and green peppers, then assemble all the ingredients. They encouraged the kids to have fun while also sharing information about good food and healthy cooking.

“The response from the kids is amazing,” said Winckel. “We are creating this recipe from scratch when they are so used to opening a jar and taking a spoonful of salsa and not realizing the other parts that are in the salsa. Here it is all natural, no added ingredients except for spices. You do not have to add salt or sugar.”

Winckel and Daigle like what they were able to accomplish for Food Revolution Day and won’t settle for just one day. They have already started to work on getting funding so they can organize an after-school event to keep the momentum going.

“We would like to invite parents, with their children, into the school and cook recipes from scratch. The whole idea today is to give the children a taste of cooking from scratch — give them the recipes to take back home and try them with their parents,” said Winckel.