Grower-Shipper Association Foundation Celebrates School Salad Bars
SALINAS, CA - Salad bars have taken the industry by storm as of late, with everyone from Tour de Fresh to Whole Foods Market using them as a tool to bring fresh produce to underserved communities. The Grower-Shipper Association Foundation (GSAF) has also honed in on the initiative, teaming up with district representatives and local produce companies to announce the donation and placement of two new salad bars at Scotts Valley High School and San Benito High School.
“We are proud of all industry members who are helping ensure children in the surrounding area will be able to choose fresh, local produce everyday as part of their school lunch,” said Lorri Koster, President of GSAF. “The fields where we grow vegetables that feed that world are just a short distance from these schools, and it just makes sense that students should be able to easily access the variety of produce that our counties are known for.”
According to a press release, the donations are part of the GSAF More Produce in Schools program, which matches local donors with local schools that request a salad bar in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties. The GSAF partners with Central Coast school foodservice directors and grower-shippers to make fresh, local produce more readily accessible to area students through the salad bar program. In the past five years, salad bar donations have been made possible by the generous contributions from Taylor Farms, Church Brothers Farms, Tanimura & Antle, Ocean Mist Farms, Braga Fresh Family Farms, Sabor Farms, Top Flavor Farms, and Ippolito International.
“We appreciate the GSAF for its continued support of school salad bars, a cause that’s a win-win for our industry and our children,” said Andrew Marshall, Director of Foodservice and Foundation Partnerships, United Fresh Start Foundation. “We look forward to exploring additional opportunities for collaboration in the years ahead, especially as we plan to engage more California school nutrition leaders to attend the United Fresh Conventions that will take place in San Diego in 2020 and Los Angeles in 2021.”
Supporting research shows that incorporating salad bars into school lunches increases children’s consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, salad bars are one of the most effective school-based intervention strategies to achieve this goal. When offered healthy food choices in a salad bar, children respond by trying new items, incorporating greater variety into their diets, and increasing daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Salad bars also help schools comply with the National School Lunch Program’s recently updated nutrition standards, which require offering a colorful variety of vegetable options each week.
The GSAF coordinated the donations with the United Fresh Start Foundation, a founding partner of the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which works with the produce industry to bring salad bars to schools across the country. The Salad Bars to Schools initiative has created a national movement to encourage more schools to implement salad bars and has helped facilitate the donation of salad bars to over 5,600 schools, benefitting 3 million children in all 50 states.
We at AndNowUKnow extend an enormous thank you to organizations like the Grower-Shipper Association Foundation for bringing fresh to the forefront for younger generations. For more inspiring news like this, stick with us.