In just seven years, Salad Bars to Schools, a public-private partnership founded by United Fresh Start Foundation, Whole Foods Market, Chef Ann Foundation and the National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, has given salad bars to more than 5,000 schools.
In a release, United Fresh highlighted a total of more than US$12 million had been invested in the program to date, giving nearly three million children daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
“We are proud to celebrate the milestone of having funded our 5,000th salad bar,” United Fresh Start Foundation CEO Tom Stenzel said in a release.
“Thanks to the leadership and commitment of the fresh produce industry, more than 1,800 school districts are providing fresh choices for our kids because of our program, and this doesn’t begin to include those schools that have been inspired by our efforts.
“Many schools are purchasing their own salad bars, repurposing cafeteria equipment into salad bars, as well as getting creative with their ability to offer students access to a variety of fresh produce choices each day.”
United Fresh Start Foundation, along with Salad Bars to Schools partners, First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe and school lunch leaders from across the country, celebrated this milestone on Oct. 11 during National School Lunch Week at Lynbrook Elementary School in Springfield, VA.
When kids have access to a salad bar at school, they eat more produce (The PEW Charitable Trusts), and eating nutritious food is linked to their academic success (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); specifically, higher grades and standardized test scores, reduced absenteeism and improved cognitive performance. For these reasons, school salad bars are in high demand.
Schools can apply for salad bars year-round at saladbars2schools.org/get-a-salad-bar. Produce companies interested in supporting Salad Bars to Schools can contact Andrew Marshall at email@example.com.