As our children get fatter and unhealthier with record levels of obesity and diabetes, a new awareness about what we eat is spreading across the Western World. Today in Tampa, a leading advocate of healthy eating and farming talked to school children and community leaders about real food. WMNF’s Roxanne Escobales reports.

Nat sound: walking on farm, greenhouse lecture [BED]

Today at Sweetwater Organic Community Farm in West Tampa, Mrs Towner’s fourth grade class is taking a tour of the grounds. The class comes from Hilda T. Turner Elementary School in New Tampa.


Turner Elementary won the grand prize in the America’s Healthiest Schools contest put on by the website iParenting, an internet community for parents. The school implemented a three-pronged wellness program for all its students that focuses on healthy eating and regular physical activity.

ACTS: interview with BOY

Today, they listened to Nina Planck tell them about organic food and the importance of eating fresh, locally produced fruit and vegetables. Planck is an internationally acclaimed author and advocate of healthy foods and local farming.

[SOUND… lecture]

Planck is visiting the Bay area to promote her new book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why. Growing up on an ecological farm in Virginia, the author started the London Farmers Markets in England, which now runs 12 weekly farmers markets year round.


After her visit to Sweetwater Farms, Nina Planck joined Hillborugh County Schools superintendent Mary Ellen Elia to address a community leaders forum. As the 9th largest school district in the nation, Hillsborough serves over 235-thousand meals a day. Last year the district spent 85-million-dollars on its food programme.

Schools superintendent Mary Ellen Elia:


On July 25th, Hillsoborugh County schools adopted a comprehensive wellness policy in line with federal a law that went into affect this school year. The law requires all public schools participating in federal lunch programs to set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness.

Foodie Nina Planck said it was institutional challenge to change the direction of the very large ship that is the school lunch program. For example many school districts have contracts with soda companies that binds them to exclusively sell only that brand of soft drink. Mary Ellen Elia told the audience how this culture is slowly changing.


Nina Planck would like to see the changes go even further.


Nina Planck will be talking about her new book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why, tonight at 7 o’clock at Inkwood Books in Hyde Park, Tampa. For more information go to or phone 813 253 2638.

For WMNF News in Tampa, I’m Roxanne Escobales.

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