Illinois soybean farmers are helping turn elementary students on to healthy eating habits. With support from the Illinois soybean checkoff, the Emmy Award-winning FoodPlay theatrical group toured more than 40 Illinois schools this spring to share nutrition messages. This is the third year of Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) support.
"I attended a production, and observed the kids first hand," says Don Guinnip, ISA director and soybean farmer from Marshall. "For days, teachers were telling me what a good program it was and how well their students retained what they had learned about healthy eating habits."
FoodPlay Productions tours the nation's schools to share the message of healthy eating and active living, including information about the value of soy in the diet. The program uses the powers of live theater, juggling, music, magic and audience participation to reach students effectively.
"My students really connected with the message and the style in which it was presented. The actors were dynamic, wonderful, talented, personable and professional. Thank you to the soybean association for making this possible – what a worthwhile presentation," says Vicki Litherland, third through fifth grade health teacher, Bureau Valley Elementary, Buda.
"This was one of the best programs I've seen on being healthy," says Matthew Millikin, third grade teacher, Herrin Elementary in Herrin. "We've talked about eating right and exercising at school before, but this program was more entertaining and informative than any I've seen."
FoodPlay has reached more than 4 million children since its inception, including more than 11,000 students who participated in the program during National Soyfoods Month in Illinois schools this year. The program received a 100% "excellent" rating from teachers surveyed following the productions in Illinois. For more information, visit www.foodplay.com.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is the statewide organization for Illinois soybean growers. The farmers on its board administer soybean checkoff funds to support research, promotions, and educational programs designed to increase demand for Illinois soybeans and administer legislation and membership programs. For more information, visit: www.ilsoy.org.