Jennifer Gerard Rides in Tour de Fresh for Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools Program
WATSONVILLE, CA - Since 2012, each of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District's 22 schools 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 through the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program. This year, to pay that kindness forward, Jennifer Gerard of the district’s nutrition program has decided to cycle 275 miles in four days for Tour de Fresh to put salad bars in other districts as well.
You might ask why she’s doing this, but Gerard would be quick to tell you that every school should offer fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a nutrition education program that fights childhood obesity and encourages healthy eating for future generations.
“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,” said Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Director of Nutrition Jennifer Gerard. “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.”
Gerard now is riding on behalf of Natural Delights Medjool Dates from Hickory, NC, all the way to Atlanta with a personal goal to raise $5,000 to place at least two salad bars in California’s Upland Unified School District, according to a press release. 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.
“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,” said California Congressman Sam Farr. “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 2014’s inaugural Tour de Fresh raised over $142,000 and with the help of the United Fresh Start Foundation, placed more than 40 salad bars in 11 states, from California all the way to the District of Columbia. To learn more about last year's event, you can watch the video below:
For 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,” said California Giant Berry Farms’ Vice President of Marketing, Cindy Jewell. “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.”
United Fresh Start Foundation President Tom Stenzel also weighed in on the program, saying it’s tremendously gratifying to see school leaders across the country step up to support salad bars in their districts.
“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,” Stenzel added. “Kids get to try a variety of new products, and can always find different fruits and veggies to enjoy.”
Sponsorship opportunities are still available, and riders are encouraged to join until all 55 slots on the roster is filled. For more information, email Brock Nemecek at [email protected].