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Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Amqui Elementary School in Madison, TN

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Amqui Elementary School in Madison, TN yesterday as part of the Obama Administration’s ‘My Education, My Future’ events.

This trip was particularly important for the Secretary because he got a first-hand look at the work of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service programs. The USDA plays an integral role in the education of America’s children through the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs.

Amqui Elementary, a designated ‘Team Nutrition school,’ has made a commitment to healthy students and works to make healthy changes in school meals, provides nutrition education programs, and promotes physical activity consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA’s nutrition standards.

Secretary Vilsack and Deputy Under Secretary Thorton tour the cafeteria of Amqui Elementary School in Madison, TNSecretary Vilsack was joined by Dr. Janey Thornton, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services and Principal Sharon Elrod and Vice Principal Janet Overton in the school’s cafeteria and witnessed the benefits of the National School Lunch Program – happy children enjoying healthy meals.

The principals wholeheartedly agreed that for our students to meet their educational goals, we must make sure that no child arrives at school hungry and that nutritious meals and healthy communities are part of every educational program. The positive impact of a balanced nutritious meal on the ability of a student to learn and prosper in an academic setting cannot be understated. Amqui Elementary serves over 340 breakfasts and over 670 lunch meals per day. This means that 91% of the student body of 730 students is getting a healthy nutritious meal that will keep them on the path to successful learning.

Amqui Elementary was serving up a healthy plate of fruits, a bean tortilla and plenty of vegetables, both cooked and raw. As the Secretary spoke with 4th graders he praised the school’s meal choice that was heavy on the fresh fruits and vegetables, a.k.a. “anytime snacks” and talked about limiting the sweets and less nutritious items referred to as “sometimes snacks.”

The Secretary also came bearing gifts and presented the 4th graders with a goodie bag featuring ‘MyPyramid’ information to help students to eat smart, and stay active and healthy.

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