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Tour de Fresh started a chain reaction of nutrition


Between 2012 and 2014, each of the 22 schools in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District were gifted salad bars by the United Fresh Start Foundation, the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California Foundation and a host of local produce industry donors, working together through the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program. This year, a member of the district’s nutrition team is paying it forward by cycling 275 miles in four days for Tour de Fresh to put salad bars in other districts.

Jennifer Gerard from Monterey Peninsula Unified School District’s Nutrition Services department will ride from Hickory, NC, to Atlanta with personal goals to raise $5,000 each to place at least five salad bars in California’s Upland Unified School District. As previous recipients, Monterey district employees have been able to see, first-hand, the positive impact that salad bars have had on thousands of students in the Monterey Peninsula area.  

“We’re so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools to bring more fresh produce into our district,” Jennifer Gerard, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District director of nutrition, said in a press release. “We believe in supporting other schools through Tour de Fresh because we’ve seen the positive impact that this program has on our students’ health and education — we want that for every school.”

“Our children spend the majority of their day at school, so it’s important that we provide them with the tools to make healthy decisions when they’re not at home,” Congressman Sam Farr said in the release. “When we support a movement like Tour de Fresh and Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, we’re setting the next generation up for success.”

Presented by the California Giant Foundation, the inaugural Tour de Fresh, in 2014, raised over $142,000 and, working through the United Fresh Start Foundation, placed more than 40 salads bars in communities in 11 states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. In 2015, Tour de Fresh and its participants aim to privately finance 100 or more new salad bars in school districts across the country.

“Jenn reached out to us, completely unsolicited, to ride in Tour de Fresh in support of other schools,” Cindy Jewell, vice president of marketing at California Giant Berry Farms, said in the release. “We’re seeing the impact of Tour de Fresh come full circle because of Jenn’s commitment to supporting the cause after seeing its success of salad bars in her own district.”

“As a founding partner of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, it’s tremendously gratifying to see school leaders across the country step up to support salad bars in their districts, and even help out on future fundraising,” Tom Stenzel, United Fresh Start Foundation president, said in the release.  “Schools are finding salad bars a real solution to meeting demands for increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, while learning to ‘take what they want, and eat what they take’, thus minimizing plate waste.  Kids get to try a variety of new products, and can always find different fruits and veggies to enjoy,” he said.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available, and riders are encouraged to join until all 55 slots on the roster are filled by emailing Brock Nemecek at