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Port Orange Observer Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 2 years ago

Composting, Farm to Table concepts at Sugar Mill Elementary gain recognition

Debra Fenney and Carol Puglisese were recognized by the Florida School Nutrition Association for helping improve school nutrition.
by: Lurvin Fernandez Staff Writer

Students at Sugar Mill Elementary treated Volusia County School Board Chair Linda Cuthbert to a homemade spaghetti dinner, complete with salad and dessert, thanks to the skills they learned from the Farm-to-Table program at their school. 

The program was implemented by Debra Feeney, SWC manager for Volusia County Schools, who won the FSNA innovative idea award for bringing composting and the Table to Farm concepts to the school. 

The program teaches students about composting — recycling organic waste to create soil — and how to grow produce and herbs. Sugar Mill Elementary School Counselor Marie Bracciale said students also find gardening therapeutic. 

Carol Puglisese, SWC assistant, won the School Wellness Advisory Council of the Year.

School Way Cafe, which prepares and serves school lunches in the county, introduced the award recipients at the School Board meeting on Oct. 9.

"This is a true honor to be recognized in the State of Florida and to bring it home to Volusia County," said Heather DeMeola, director of School Way Cafe.

DeMeola also talked about the updates to the school menu, which now includes fresh fruits, vegetables, gluten-free pizza, parfaits and smoothies. The company also launched a menu app and interactive meal viewer, which can be used to educate children on nutrition. 


The updates rolled out as School Way Cafe prepares to commemorate National School Lunch Week from Oct. 15 to 18.

The School Board unanimously voted to recognize this year's theme "School Lunch: Lots 2 Love," and encourage all residents to become aware of the contribution the National School Lunch Program has made to the educational experience of school children. The commemorative week also encourages residents to be more mindful of their and their children's nutritional habits in hopes of improving them. 


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