First lady Michelle Obama hopes to donate at least 6,000 salad bars in
schools in the next three years under a new initiative, Let's Move Salad Bars
to Schools, launched Nov. 22, that teams the federal government with the
produce industry to improve nutrition in school-age children.
At Riverside Elementary School in Miami, the first lady spent nearly an hour
talking with children at the first school to receive donated salad bar
equipment under the new initiative.
"There are studies that show that kids who are eating their fruits and
vegetables on a regular basis actually do better in school," she told the
elementary school children.
“Because one of the things we know is that this kind of stuff is really
expensive, and not every school has the money that it takes to bring the salad
bar in, even if they want to make it happen. So that’s why this team of folks is
so important, because they pulled together all these resources to make this
happen,” she added.
The National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance, co-chaired by the Produce for Better
Health Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, along
with the Food, Family, Farming Foundation and the United Fresh Produce
Association, have formed the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative.
United Fresh has been working with the White House for more than a year to
develop the public-private partnership, and just having the First Lady on
board puts a lot of clout behind efforts to improve nutrition in schools, said
Ray Gilmer, United Fresh’s vice president of communications.
“We are thrilled to build upon the success and momentum of the First Lady’s
Let’s Move! initiative with Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools,” said Tom Stenzel,
president and chief executive officer of United Fresh.
“PBH is pleased to participate in the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools
campaign and feels that this is an exciting way to get both the public and
private sectors involved in bettering the health of America’s children,” said
Elizabeth Pivonka, PBH president and CEO. Throughout 2010, the partners
have already raised funding for more than 600 new school salad bars, she
“Adding a healthy salad bar to school lunch options is one of the most
important things we can do to help improve school food, and this is a win-win
for schools and their students,” said Chef Ann Cooper, founder of the Food,
Family, Farming Foundation.
With donations from corporations, foundations and the public, Mr. Gilmer
predicted the initiative will “shoot past” the 6,000 salad bar goal in three
Schools can begin the process by completing an on-line application and
creating their own individualized web page at www.saladbars2schools.org.
Schools can encourage donations for their own salad bar as well as receive
donations from the initiative’s general funds.
The next step is to get Congress on board with federal funding.
“But there’s one last thing I want to make sure everybody knows, is that we
also need Congress to do their part,” Ms. Obama told Miami school children.
“And one of the things that we hope will get passed soon is the Child
Nutrition Reauthorization bill. And that’s going to provide money and
resources to more schools so that we can improve nutrition, get better food
into school lunchrooms, that we get more nutrition education into the
classrooms, that we get more physical education.”