The United Fresh Produce Association announced a landmark donation of salad bars to 436 California schools. The donation will benefit 300,000 California students who will now have access to a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day at lunch. United Fresh made the announcement at the Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools Celebration press conference in San Diego, which brought together government, education and child nutrition officials, school food service directors from throughout California, students from San Diego area schools and more than 100 produce industry and foundation donors. The Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools Celebration was held on the opening day of the United Fresh 2013 annual produce convention at the San Diego Convention Center.
The schools receiving salad bars are located in 71 school districts throughout Calif., from Humboldt County in the north to San Diego and Imperial County in the south and from the Bay Area to Tuolumne County in the east. School foodservice directors from 37 of those districts attended the event and were recognized as “salad bar superstars” and leaders on the front line in increasing children’s consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The goal of United’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools campaign is to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption and improve their health by donating salad bars to schools throughout California. Over the past year, this campaign has collaborated with TEAM California for Healthy Kids and the California Department of Education to meet that shared goal. State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, who spearheads TEAM California for Healthy Kids, gave keynote remarks at the event, noting that salad bars are an integral piece to supporting increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Torlakson also emphasized the positive impact that the donation will have on 300,000 school children in the state and shared his vision for continuing to build on the momentum of Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools.
“When our students aren’t healthy, they are less likely to be in class and learning,” says Torlakson. “With Team California for Healthy Kids, we are working to ensure our kids have access to nutritious food, clean water and physical exercise – so that the right choices are easy choices. That’s why I applaud the effort to make fresh fruits and vegetables available right in the lunchroom.”
“This remarkable donation of salad bars to 436 California schools truly demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships to improve child nutrition. Produce industry leaders, businesses, and foundations all came together to support increasing children’s fresh fruit and vegetable consumption,” says Tom Stenzel, United Fresh CEO. “These salad bars will transform school cafeterias and help 300,000 students develop healthier eating habits that will last a lifetime.”
“Receiving salad bars from Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools has afforded us the ability to implement changes that are transforming the way that students eat on a daily basis. The fresh, vibrant salad bars look amazing. They are stocked with a wide variety of fresh produce items and have led to increased lunch participation at each site where we have implemented these beautiful and generously donated salad bars,” says Brad Knipscheer, director of nutrition services at Hemet Unified School District. His district has received 14 salad bars from Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools, and recently received national recognition for leadership in improving healthfulness of school meals.
A complete list of California school districts receiving salad bars is available here.