United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel (left) joined Produce for Kids founder John Shuman to celebrate the donation of salad bars to Miami-Dade County Schools.
Students in Anaheim fills their plates with fresh fruits and vegetables from a salad bar donated by FPFC.
In schools from coast to coast, the salad bar concept is catching on, and school foodservice directors are seeing the benefits. Two school districts, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Sacramento City Unified School District may be on opposite coasts, but they are both leading the way when it comes to salad bars and providing students with an array of fresh fruit and vegetable choices.
This week, in honor of National School Lunch Week, United Fresh participated in two events to celebrate the donation of salad bars to schools in Miami and Sacramento. Produce for Kids and Publix Super Markets hosted a salad bar media event with officials from the Miami-Dade County Schools and the Fresh Produce and Floral Council hosted a ribbon cutting with local FPFC members and officials from the California Department of Education to highlight their recent donation to a Sacramento elementary school.
The Produce for Kids/Publix event took place on Tuesday at Sunset Park Elementary School. United Fresh president & CEO Tom Stenzel joined Produce for Kids founder, John Shuman and representatives from Publix Supermarkets, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Miami-Dade County Schools, to commemorate the donation of salad bars to 17 salad bars for Miami schools. The donation, made possible by Produce for Kids and Publix Super Markets from funds raised from the fall 2011 Healthy Schools, Healthy Minds campaign, benefitted Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, of which the United Fresh Foundation is a founding partner. The promotion enabled the donation of 39 salad bars for schools in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, of which 17 benefitted schools in the Miami-Dade County School District.
Also in attendance at Tuesday’s Miami event were representatives from Acosta Sales and Marketing, Buddy Fruits®, Del Monte Fresh Produce, Paramount Farms, Pero Family Farms®, Shuman Produce and Ventura Foods, all sponsors of the Produce for Kids campaign. Crunch Pak, Amco Produce, Mastronardi Produce, Ventura Foods and Del Monte Foods were also sponsors of the campaign, but were unable to attend.
“Through the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, schools like Sunset Park Elementary are able to offer healthier choices for their students at lunchtime,” said John Shuman. “Putting fresh fruits and vegetables in front of children offers them the ability to make proper decisions and helps them to build lifelong healthy habits.”
Tom Stenzel added, “Two years ago First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools at Riverside Elementary School, a nearby Miami school. I’m glad to be back in Miami to commemorate the donation of 17 salad bars to a school district that’s a model for others that are looking for ways to serve more fresh produce at school lunch every day.”
On Wednesday on the west coast, Fresh Produce Council president Carissa Mace and members of the FPFC Board hosted their own ribbon-cutting ceremony at Earl Warren Elementary School in Sacramento.
Brenda Padilla, Director of Child Nutrition for the Sacramento City Unified School District, is a big proponent using salad bars as strategy for increasing students’ access and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. She has seen firsthand how salad bars can expose her students to a wide variety of produce items. She loves hearing stories from parents. Ms. Padilla has a goal to place a salad bar in every school, and still needs salad bars for an additional 23 schools.
Jeff Oberman, United Fresh vice president of membership and trade relations, and members of the FPFC Board, who were on hand to speak with students, and event attendees to reiterate the produce industry’s commitment to developing creative ways, like salad bars in schools, to get kids excited about eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.
“The FPFC has been a tremendous supporter of the United Fresh Foundation and Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools. This salad bar donated by the Council will count toward the goal of United’s recently launched campaign, Let's Move Salad Bars to California Schools, which has set a goal to raise funds for salad bars for 350 schools by May 2013”, said Oberman. Let's Move Salad Bars to California Schools is a special initiative under the umbrella of the national Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools (LMSB2S) initiative.
Wednesday’s event marked the FPFC’s second salad bar donation this year. Last month the Council hosted an event to commemorate their donation to Western High School in Anaheim.
To learn more about these donations, or for more information about the Let's Move Salad Bars to California Schools campaign, contact Andrew Marshall, United Fresh policy and grassroots manager at 202-303-3407. Schools interested in requesting salad bars can apply at www.saladbars2schools.org.