MIAMI, FL – November 22, 2010 – With the goal to provide at least 6,000 salad bars to schools in the next three years, a new public-private partnership has launched Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, a grassroots public health initiative working in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. The partners share a vision to significantly increase salad bars in schools across the country until every child has the choice of healthy fruits and vegetables every day at school. The initiative was announced today by the Salad Bars to Schools Coalition to support the First Lady’s Lets Move! initiative. The announcement was made at Riverside Elementary School in Miami, which received the first salad bar as part of the launch. The founding partners of the initiative include: National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance*, United Fresh Produce Association Foundation and Food, Family, Farming (F3) Foundation, which administers The Lunch Box, an online healthy foods tool for schools.
“We are thrilled to build upon the success and momentum of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative with Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools,” said Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of United Fresh Produce Association. “School salad bars are a proven strategy for increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption and launching them on a lifetime of healthy eating.”
“A diet high in fruits and vegetables helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of many serious chronic diseases,” said William Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Having more salad bars in schools will help make the choice of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables the easiest choice,” he added, speaking on behalf of the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance.
The initiative’s founding partners invite corporations, foundations and the public to join in reaching the goal of 6,000 salad bars in the next three years.
“Our country’s 31 million children who eat school lunch every day deserve better food, and salad bars are part of the solution. Adding a healthy salad bar to school lunch options is one of the most important things we can do to help improve school food, and this is a win-win for schools and their students,” said Chef Ann Cooper of Food, Family, Farming (F3) Foundation.
All schools and/or districts that meet the bronze level of the USDA Healthier US School Challenge are eligible for a salad bar donation, with the stipulation that the school/district desires and can support a salad bar. All other schools and districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) may apply for a salad bar donation.
Interested schools can begin the process by completing an online application and creating their own individualized webpage at: www.saladbars2schools.org. Schools can then encourage donations for their own school’s salad bar, as well as receive donations from the general funds of the initiative. The website also offers details about the benefits of salad bars and resources to help increase fruit and vegetable consumption at schools.