Power Play"te, a paper plate design inspired in part by the MyPlate logo of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been adopted by two Yuma, Ariz., school districts for lunch use once a week.
Project funder and vegetable grower Vic Smith and plate designer Limelight Creative Group launched the program Sept. 12 at Gary Knox School in Yuma.
Power Play"te resembles MyPlate, encouraging elementary school students to fill half with fruits and vegetables.
But it also features characters and a tone more spontaneous than instructional. Students are prompted, for example, to drive fresh broccoli into a dairy depot for ranch dressing, or pair bananas with peanut butter. The tagline is "Grow on, play with your food!"
"The playful part of the program and the fact that it is taking place in our local schools is what we believe will set it apart from other marketing campaigns designed to help kids make better choices," Smith said in a news release.
He owns JVSmith Companies, which grows leafy greens, green onions and organic produce in Arizona and elsewhere.
Smith is also board chairman at the Yuma Regional Medical Center.
Ronna Bach, USDA director of special nutrition programs, was among the speakers at Gary Knox School. The program has been adopted by Yuma School District One and Crane Elementary School District.
Power Play"te also offers a crop of the week educational segment on its website.
Limelight Creative Group"s Kristan Sheppeard, a former first-grade teacher, and Susan Sternitzke designed the plate.
"The repetitiveness of introducing these foods means they will choose them over something like a donut because they have learned to like them," Sternitzke said.
Smith and Limelight Creative sought industry support for the plates during the Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference in July and hope to introduce it in other cities.