SAN DIEGO–(PRNewswire)– Bayer has committed $40,000 to the United Fresh Start Foundation, in support of their mission to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables. As part of the partnership, Bayer is funding salad bars for eight schools in California and Idaho.
To promote this collaboration, and one of the new salad bars, the announcement was made during an assembly at Barnett Elementary in Ramona. At the school event, over 50 fourth grade students were introduced to their new salad bar and participated in a melon taste-test. Students tried several varieties of sweet melons and voted on their favorite.
“The Ramona Unified School District’s food service team has always done a fantastic job, and the replacement of a new salad bar will create even more excitement amongst our students to select fresh fruits and veggies every day,” said Linda Marthis, Principal, Barnett Elementary School.
“Our district has always had a commitment to serving fresh produce in our school lunch program,” said Kati Harbor, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Ramona Unified School District. “The new salad bar will highlight fresh produce and encourage children to make healthy choices from a greater variety of colorful options.”
Other schools receiving salad bars from the Bayer-United Fresh Start Foundation collaboration, include: James Dukes Elementary School, Ramona; Ellwood Elementary School, Goleta Union School District Foothill Elementary School, Goleta Union School District; Alameda Community Learning Center, Alameda; Nea Community Learning Center, Alameda; Blue Oak Charter School, Barbara Morgan STEM Academy, West Ada School District, Meridian, Idaho.
“Each day more than 30 million U.S. children participate in the National School Lunch Program, an in many communities, schools are the ‘largest restaurant in town.’ By providing children with access to a salad bar at school, they can easily choose from a variety of fresh produce every day, and find what they like best,” said Jennifer Maloney, Food Chain and Sustainability Manager, Bayer. “A salad bar puts a focus on fresh fruits and veggies in the lunch line, and with our recent contributions, we hope children will go home and tell their parents, sparking a conversation about the importance of eating healthy and choosing more fresh fruits and veggies at every meal.”
Bayer serves as a member of the United Fresh Start Foundation’s Community Outreach Committee, which among other roles, helps foster collaboration between the foundation, schools, and community-based non-profit organizations that are committed to providing children with access to fresh produce.
“Thanks to companies like Bayer, the United Fresh Start Foundation is continuing to provide salad bars to schools, encouraging children to make healthier food choices every day,” said Tom Stenzel, President and CEO, United Fresh Produce Association and President of the United Fresh Start Foundation. “We know kids like eating fresh fruits and veggies, and when given the opportunity to make their own selections from a school salad bar, they are learning to take what they want, and eat what they take. Salad bars empower kids to make their own healthy choices, introduce kids to new fresh options, and they are a simple intervention that makes it easy for kids to choose fresh produce at school.”
To coordinate the salad bar contributions, Bayer worked with the United Fresh Start Foundation, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the United Fresh Produce Association. As part of the foundation’s partnership in the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative, they are working with the produce industry, non-profits and allied businesses to support salad bars to schools across the United States. To date, Salad Bars to Schools has helped facilitate the donation of salad bars to over 5,000 schools in all fifty states, benefitting 3 million children. Bayer’s salad bar investment supports the national initiative.
Current research indicates that the use of salad bars in schools promotes healthy food choices in school-aged children. With access to a salad bar, students are encouraged to try new items and are empowered to make their own healthy choices now, and in the future. The Salad Bars to Schools initiative aims to help school districts meet USDA school lunch nutrition standards, which require offering students a wide variety of colorful vegetable choices each week, and which promote a healthier lifestyle for students nationwide.
Bayer’s commitment to sustainability and agricultural education begins with the people it serves every day. This commitment extends to fighting food insecurity and encouraging healthier food choices for a happier and well-educated community.