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Planting the Seeds of Partnerships to Harvest Sustainability

Planting the Seeds of Partnerships to Harvest Sustainability

Presenters: Donna Loden and Mary Ann Plasencia

Presented on Tuesday, February 27 10:15-11:15 am

Growing Healthy Waves, a district-themed Farm to School initiative, and national organization, FoodCorps, partnered to change the palates of children in the Tupelo Public School District so that students know what healthy food is, fall in love with it, and eat it every day. With trowels, plant starts, pots, pans, and enthusiasm, this Governor’s Award of Distinction honoree is empowering students to grow, count, measure, stir, and cook their own food. This session will give you tips on raking in partners, germinating ideas for program sustainability, and sprouting an award-winning application.

Donna Loden has 33 years of teaching experience in Mississippi and Tennessee. After retiring, she served as education coordinator at HealthWorks! North Mississippi, an interactive children’s health education center in Tupelo. Donna is currently a trainer for the Professional Growth System and an accreditation auditor for the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Accreditation. She volunteers with the Tupelo Public Schools as coordinator of Growing Healthy Waves and as supervisor of a FoodCorps service member. You can often find her dressed as the Tomato Lady encouraging kids to try new things.

Mary Ann Plasencia has been with Tupelo Public Schools for eight years and currently serves as the communications director. She has been involved with bringing health and wellness initiatives to the district's students and staff including free swimming lessons to all first and second graders, free gym memberships for staff, and most recently, onsite employee clinics. Thanks to Growing Healthy Waves, she now loves all things kale — salad, chips, and even in smoothies.

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