Miami Northwestern Senior High students showcase blender bikes

South Beach Food and Wine Festival features ‘Plant it Forward’ initiative

Ashley Montgomery | 3/6/2014, 9 a.m.
As South Beach transformed into the home of Food Network’s biggest stars for the weekend, some local talent got some ...
Miami Northwestern students enjoyed putting together the blender bikes. Amy Ellis

As South Beach transformed into the home of Food Network’s biggest stars for the weekend, some local talent got some exposure of their own.

Students from Miami Northwestern Senior High showcased their blender bikes — pedal-powered stationary bicycles fitted with blenders — at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival’s “Fun and Fit as a Family” event. The event took place at Parrot Jungle Island and thousands of families were in attendance that day.

The students used their blender bikes, the students whipped up their frozen raspberry lemonade using ingredients grown in their school garden.

Thanks to the Plant It Forward program that combines hands-on learning about sustainable food practices. The program was created under The Education Effect which is a joint effort between Florida International University and Chase. The Education Effect is meant to promote a college-going culture and workforce-ready skills at Miami Northwestern Senior High.

Principal of Miami Northwestern Senior High, Wallace Aristide was in attendance to see his students display their bike in front of a live audience and at Education Effect booth.

He says that he was thankful for all of the amazing things that are coming from this initiative.

The bike that was on display at the event was made completely from spare parts, painted in shop class by the Miami Northwestern Students and using a raspberry lemonade recipe — something that they also had their hand in creating.

Celebrity chef, Robert Irvine hosted the event and even had some kids in the audience take a turn at pedaling the bike during the show.

The blender bike was the result of months and months of strategic planning and instruction from FIU’s engineering, culinary arts and nutrition guidance.

Mark D’Alessandro, an FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management professor says that the students were very involved in the entire process.

Eventually, the students will go on to create more bikes and hopefully bring the blender bikes to other local events and elementary schools. From the looks on all the children’s faces at the Fun and Fit as a Family live show.

Maria Lovett, partnership director of The Education Effect says that its much more than blender bikes and making smoothies; it’s about healthy eating, growing produce in the garden, working with the aquaponics and seeing the results of the work they are doing and how it can apply to different college majors or careers.

Over the course of the two day event at Jungle Island, the Miami Northwestern students served up more than 3,000 free 2-ounce samples of frozen lemonade. . . while of course, explaining all that goes into making them.

The students learned the importance of teamwork during the process, Miami Northwestern welding instructor, Dustin Welch said. Welch went on to say that he gave them a lot of freedom with it.

Josh Mortimer, senior at Miami Northwestern says that it was something different and he enjoyed making the bikes from scratch.