A Salad Bar in Every School!
The smells of back-to-school: freshly sharpened pencils, old leather seats of yellow busses, chalk dust, and lettuce? This fall, my foundation’s premier project, Food Family Farming Foundation’s
, The Lunch Box is partnering with Whole Foods Market to implement a remarkable new program, which will change school lunch-rooms across the nation – The Great American Salad Bar Project. With rates of nutrition-related disease and childhood obesity on the rise, now is the time to start making positive change in the way we feed our children. The initial phase of the Great American Salad Bar Project will raise enough money, via local Whole Foods Markets, thru in-store and online donations, to grant at least one salad bar a school within fifty miles of the store. That’s almost 300 salad bars! Schools that meet the requirements are encouraged to apply on the Great American Salad Bar Project website for review and will be chosen by a simple set of criteria.
A salad bar in a school cafeteria provides a healthy option for students on a daily basis. A typical salad bar will include: fresh multi-colored lettuce, a variety of vegetable “toppings” such as beets, carrots, and jicama, proteins such as chicken, beans, cottage cheese or tofu, whole grains, fresh fruit and healthy salad dressings. One requirement for schools who wish to apply is that they participate in the National School Lunch Program. The National School Lunch Program is a federally funded program that provides low-cost or free meals to children across the country. Children who participate in the National School Lunch Program are often most at-risk for the effects of a poor diet.
School is a sacred space for learning, so why shouldn’t this extend into the cafeteria? School meals should not only provide the nourishment children need to excel throughout the school day, but should also serve as a lesson in making life-long wellness choices. Offering salad at lunch helps to provide this lesson and teaches children to include a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains and healthy proteins in their diet. The salad bar provides an array of options and allows students to try new items on their own. Often students will make choices from the salad bar and create delicious and colorful dishes to suit their taste.
The facts are simple: this could quite possibly be the first generation of children in our country’s history to die at a younger age than their parents.
It is predicted by the Center for Disease Control that of all children born in the year 2000, one-third will contract diabetes. These outrageous statistics can only be stopped by a massive overhaul of the way our children eat and the Great American Salad Bar Project is one giant step in the right direction.
Take this wonderful opportunity to do something good for yourself and your community. Take a trip to your local Whole Foods, purchase some of the healthy food they offer for yourself and your family, and then donate what you can to the Great American Salad Bar project. Know that with your donation you are participating in an effort to change the future health of our country.
Eat well, use your dollar to vote for healthy food, and help us change the way kids eat across the country for the better.
To donate online or to find out more about the Great American Salad Bar Project please visit our website at: http://www.saladbarproject.org/
Mrs Q here–Over the summer I had the pleasure to chat with Chef Ann by phone. I billed it as a “Q&A” as I had plenty of questions for her, but it ended up turning into a friendly chat. I forgot to take notes, but I left the conversation happy… and in awe. She is a dynamic woman and I’m so impressed by what she has taken on to make children’s lives healthier through food.
Without notes I didn’t have much of a blog post to write. It’s easy to look up information about Chef Ann and what she is doing now, but I wanted to know more about her as a person, her story. Back when she wanted to be a chef (in the 1970s), it was not the thing people did as it was considered more of a domestic duty. The Food Network had yet to be born (and me too!) to glamorize cooking.
But Chef Ann persisted and made it her life’s work. And look at what she has done as the “Renegade Lunch Lady.” Congrats! Check her redesigned Lunch Box website.
I’m pretty thrilled to hear about her effort to put a salad bar in every school. It is one of the motivations behind putting advertising on my blog: I would love to raise enough money to purchase a salad bar for my school.
In honor of Chef Ann’s hard work, I’m giving away a copy of Lunch lessons: Changing the way we feed our children by Ann Cooper and Liza M. Holmes. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post regarding your opinion on salad bars in the schools. I never had a salad bar at any of the schools I attended but my husband had a salad bar in his middle school and told me that he loved piling a plate with veggies. Comments will be closed on Wednesday September 8th.