UnitedFreshLogoMore than two million students in 3,400 schools nationwide are making healthier lunch choices thanks to United Fresh Produce Association’s (United Fresh Foundation) Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program, an initiative to provide salad bar equipment to school districts that lack the funding to purchase the equipment on their own.Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools earned a 2014 ASAE Power of A Summit Award for its efforts to bring healthy meals to schools in need.

Submitting an application online is easy, and school food service directors can request as many salad bars as they need to empower children to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption. Donors from the produce industry, allied businesses and foundations contribute funds to the program, supporting each school’s salad bar needs.

“Offering a salad bar is the easiest way for schools to meet the new federal nutrition standards for school lunch and to make produce the ‘want to’ choice for children across the U.S.,” said Andrew Marshall, United Fresh’s program manager for Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools. “With a national childhood obesity epidemic and data confirming children eat less than half daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetable, Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools is getting students excited to make healthy choices.”

The United Fresh Foundation has unified the produce industry, as well as helped them understand the current landscape of school meal and snack programs. More than 250 produce companies, allied businesses and foundations support salad bars for schools. Regional local produce trade associations also have joined the effort by visiting with school food service administrators to discuss local challenges. And, United Fresh members have themselves engaged local charities and community groups to support the program.

A recent evaluation shows that schools that received salad bars for Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools experienced in an increase in student participation in their meal programs, their fruit and vegetable purchases increased, there was an increase in support for salad bars among school administrators, teachers, staff and parents, and schools reported less food waste.

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools also complements the association’s public policy advocacy on child nutrition. United Fresh Produce Association led the charge to secure $100 million in federal stimulus funding for school cafeteria equipment and continues to advocate or additional USDA equipment investments, which now total over $160 million.

Congratulations and thank you to the United Fresh Foundation for its successful efforts to encourage students to select fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as raise the visibility for how the association community makes a positive difference in the lives of people every day. To read more, visit www.unitedfresh.org/saladbars.

Member Spotlight, brought to you by ASAE and The Power of A, was created to showcase how associations create a better America and world. If you would like to have your organization’s efforts featured in a future Member Spotlight, please email Mary Kate Cunningham at mcunningham@asaecenter.org.