United Fresh Start Foundation and The National Potato Council Treat School to a Celebration of Potatoes
FALLS CHURCH, VA - Children at Lemon Road Elementary School in Falls Church, VA, a part of the 10th largest school district in the U.S., were treated to some fun potato education as part of a partnership with the National Potato Council and United Fresh Start Foundation.
“The potato industry has been a valuable partner in helping to provide salad bars to schools across the country,” said Andrew Marshall, United Fresh’s Director of Foodservice & Foundation Partnerships, representing the United Fresh Start Foundation. “The generosity of potato growers, and the forethought of the potato industry to educate children about the different ways they can enjoy potatoes has yielded a successful partnership for all parties involved.”
Last week, students, teachers, and school administrators partook in a “Celebration of Potatoes” lunchtime event. Kindergarten students learned how and where potatoes are grown, about different varieties, as well as potato nutrition benefits. All students also enjoyed a Greek-inspired potato salad from the school’s new salad bar.
“Potatoes are highly nutritious, cost-effective vegetables that kids love to eat. Salad bars empower schools to offer healthy potato options that meet all K-12 school foodservice guidelines,” said Kam Quarles, Vice President of Public Policy for the National Potato Council. “We are proud to help Fairfax schools achieve their nutrition goals by introducing kids to new ways of enjoying potatoes.”
Fairfax County Public Schools is under the care of Rodney Taylor, the district’s nationally recognized Food and Nutrition Services Director.
“We greatly appreciate the produce industry, supporters of the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative, as well as our local partners, who all have helped to make salad bars an important part of our school nutrition program,” said Taylor.
The Fairfax school district serves breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks, in nearly 200 schools throughout the county, according to a press release. Taylor’s goal—since he started in the district in 2015—has been to have a salad bar in every elementary school. The district’s initial request for more than 140 salad bars has been significantly trimmed thanks in part to United Fresh, produce industry supporters, and Salad Bars to Schools partners like the National Potato Council.
Earlier this year, the National Potato Council partnered with the United Fresh Start Foundation to provide three salad bars to the Fairfax County Public Schools, as part of the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative.
“The salad bars give us the ability to increase offerings and encourage kids to choose fresh produce every time they eat with us. And guess what? They do!” Taylor exclaimed.
The donations also are part of a larger, multi-year potato industry campaign, which, over the past three years, has provided salad bars to more than 300 schools across the country. Recipient schools receive salad bars along with potato recipes, serving suggestions, and other materials to assist K-12 school foodservice operators with incorporating potatoes on their menu.
The United Fresh Start Foundation is a founding partner of the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative. To date, salad bars have been donated to more than 5,300 schools, benefitting 3 million children in all fifty states.