Orlando, FL

Food Heroes and 4Roots Cafe - A New Exhibit and New Cafe Open at the Orlando Science Center

Mikaela Walker

A new exhibit, sponsored by Orlando Health, has opened at Orlando Science Center. The exhibit called Food Heroes is focused on people and businesses making a positive impact in the local food community. The exhibit shows how the food system is interconnected and the different Food Heroes working to create healthier and more sustainable food for everyone.

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In the exhibit, visitors to the Science Center can learn about what goes into growing food. There is information on the food system in general, plant growth, pollinators and composting, and on equipment that is used, such as harvesters and agricultural robots.

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Visitors to the exhibit are able to watch videos on the various topics to get a better feel for how everything works. But we all know that doing is better than seeing any day, especially for younger learners. There are also interactive portions to the exhibit that younger visitors will be sure to enjoy. They can try out a robotic arm, similar to one that is used on a farm to pick strawberries, and try to pick up balls with the arm. They can control the decomposition of fruits and vegetables in a time-lapse video about composting and they can interact with a video about butterflies as pollinators.

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The exhibit also has a demonstration space with a giant LED screen. Expert talks on various food topics from farm to plate will be held in the space, as well as cooking demonstrations. When the space is not being used for presentations, a 30-minute video featuring local food heroes will be shown. Fifteen local organizations, ranging from hydroponic gardens to culinary medicine, have shared their stories.

The Food Heroes exhibit shares space with the 4 Roots Café, which has taken over the old Subway space on the lower level. The 4Roots Café is an offshoot of 4Roots, a local healthy food initiative founded by John Rivers of 4 Rivers Fame. The goal of 4Roots is to decrease childhood hunger, decrease diet-related illnesses, reduce the amount of chemicals on food and reduce food waste.

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At the 4Roots Café instead of typical fast food, which most of us know is not healthy, 4Roots Café offers healthier options such as bowls and wraps with meats and fresh veggies. (Check out 4Roots Café menu) Yes, they do understand that many kids are picky eaters, so they do offer typical kid menu fare such as pizza and chicken nuggets, however, they also offer kid sized bowls, where kids get to “create” the bowls themselves and choose their own protein and their own veggies. As a mom, I know that deciding what goes into their bowl could be the difference between getting a kid to eat what’s in front of them vs. refusing to do so.

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If you haven’t been to the Orlando Science Center in a while, I highly recommend stopping by and checking out the new Food Heroes exhibit, as well as stopping by the 4Roots Café to grab a tasty, but healthier, lunch for you and the kids.

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