On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the Galt Elementary School District in California hosted produce industry salad bar donors at the River Oaks and Valley Oaks Elementary Schools. Donors met with foodservice administrators and observed students using their new salad bars. The school visits were organized by the United Fresh Start Foundation, a founding partner of the national Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, in conjunction with the school district’s food service department.
“Visiting the schools, seeing students select fruits and vegetables from the salad bars and talking with students and school officials about how much the children enjoy eating fresh produce was a very rewarding and educational experience,” said Adam Linder, strategic account manager for produce at CHEP USA.
“Seeing the kids using the salad bars made my day,” added Allen Satterlee, customer service manager for vegetable seed sales at Sakata Seed America, Inc. “It was nice to see the children so receptive to the fruits and vegetables.”
Linder and Satterlee both participated as cyclists in the 2016 Tour de Fresh, a produce industry cycling event organized by the Cal Giant Foundation, which raises funds to support the United Fresh Start Foundation’s partnership in the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative. As part of the Tour de Fresh, cyclists raise funds to support salad bars for schools on the program’s waiting list. The Galt Elementary School District was one of the district’s requesting salad bars.
Galt Elementary School District’s Food Service Supervisor, Nick Svoboda, shared his support for having the salad bars in their schools. “Nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program require schools to serve a colorful variety of fruits and veggies; however, without the salad bars, it would be difficult to offer as many fresh produce choices as we do. The salad bars add visual appeal to our cafeterias and encourage students to fill their plates with as much fruits and veggies as they will eat.”
At the start of the school year, the Galt Elementary School District received six salad bars thanks to produce industry donations, coordinated by the United Fresh Start Foundation. Supporters included the 2016 Tour de Fresh and cyclists Adam Linder (CHEP), Allen Satterlee (Sakata Seed America) and Katie Van Camp (Renaissance Food Group); Bayer Crop Science; and the United Fresh Start Foundation, through funds raised at the 2016 Tip Murphy Legacy Golf Tournament.
Representatives from Bayer, and Jan Burkett and Lupe Brunone from FreshPoint – Central California, the school district’s produce distributor, were also in attendance for Tuesday’s salad bar visits.
“Bayer is committed to supporting salad bars for schools as a strategy for increasing children’s access and consumption of healthy, fresh produce,” said Jenny Maloney, Bayer’s food chain sustainability manager. “Our support for the Galt District dovetails with our support for the United Fresh Start Foundation and their mission of increasing children’s access to fresh produce. We are especially pleased to support schools in an agricultural community, like Galt.”
“We always appreciate the opportunity to connect produce industry members with schools receiving salad bar donations,” said Andrew Marshall, director of foundation programs & partnerships for the United Fresh Start Foundation. “This week’s event was a true example of the Foundation bringing folks together for a common cause, supporting schools in their efforts to provide children with greater access to a variety of fresh produce choices.”
The United Fresh Start Foundation is a founding partner of the national Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which to date has donated salad bars to over 4,800 schools in all fifty states. The Foundation works with the produce industry, healthcare organizations, non-profits and allied businesses to support salad bars for schools as a way to increase children’s access to and consumption of fresh fruits and veggies every day at school.