We’ve made no secret of the fact that the National School Lunch Program needs improvement. From processed chicken patties to tator tots served as a vegetable, many schools offer lunches that are well below the acceptable nutrition level. With more than 2/3 of all schools serving meals that exceed an entire days allowance of fat, greater numbers of children are afflicted with obesity and deteriorating health.
Whole Foods, the upscale grocery chain, has announced a partnership with Ann Cooper, “The Renegade Lunch Lady”, to help make a change across America. Chef Ann has already changed hundreds of lunch programs across America by helping schools switch from processed foods to fresh, natural ingredients, and this newest partnership promises a bigger payoff than ever.
Called The Great American Salad Bar Project, Whole Foods Markets are soliciting donations to total $750,000. By soliciting donations from customers both in their stores and online, Whole Foods has pledged to open almost 300 salad bars in schools within 50 miles of their stores. This money will be used to supply schools with a five-well, portable CAMBRO salad bar kit, including all the necessary pan inserts, chilling pads and utensils, as well as training tools.
In addition, the program will help schools learn to use their USDA commodities, such as diced chicken, tuna, eggs and grain to create a reimbursable meal. By providing access to fresh foods to all students who purchase a lunch, schools have the opportunity to increase awareness of healthier choices and make positive changes in the diets of all students.