By: Kate Olender, Senior Director of Health and Wellness, United Fresh Produce Association
Dalton Local Schools received two salad bars through Salad Bars to School, a national program of which the United Fresh Start Foundation is a founding partner. The salad bars support what children are learning in their classrooms, allowing them an opportunity to try out healthy behaviors with their peers, in the comfort of the familiar school environment.
“The new salad bar is reinforcing the importance of eating fresh food and showing the students that we believe and encourage it,” says James Saxer, Superintendent of Dalton Local Schools. “Our students love having the ability to make their own choices of what they can have on their tray. They really like that we are offering the fresh fruit choice along with the canned fruit that is on the menu,” he adds.
Since the introduction of salad bars, schools have noticed an increase in the number of students that are not only choosing a salad as a side dish, but who are selecting it as their main entrée. “These salad bars have done so much to increase our students’ consumption of fruits and vegetables. What a blessing they are!” exclaims James. In fact, students have embraced the salad bars so much so that the number of students participating in the school meals program has greatly increased.
This year, the district built a state-of-the-art greenhouse, furthering students’ connection to and appreciation for fresh fruits and vegetables. “Recently, our students grew Bibb lettuce in our greenhouse, which was harvested and then placed on our salad bar,” says James. “What an incredible opportunity for students to personally benefit from the efforts of their labor.”
Kids in Dalton are Growing Up Fresh, and the United Fresh Start Foundation is proud to support its efforts.