A few weeks ago, a fellow parent on my school district's wellness committee sent me this link announcing that Whole Foods was raising money to provide salad bars in 300 schools. Just yesterday I learned from Marion Nestle that schools may apply directly through the company's Great American Salad Bar Project to try to obtain grant funding.
To be considered, public schools must be located within 50 miles of a Whole Foods Market and their representative (a parent, teacher, or administrator) must apply by November 1. The grant, if won, would cover the hardware — the salad bar itself — but not the food that fills it.
This effort is part of a sweeping national push for greater access to fresh produce as more and more schools re-think students' midday meals. Whether because of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, mass media coverage of the issue on shows like Top Chef D.C. (where contestants earlier this season were asked to cook a school lunch), the First Lady's Let's Move initiative, or the proliferation of school gardens, salad bars — once the underappreciated repository for commodity canned beans and syrupy fruit — may soon enjoy a much needed makeover.
Fresh food advocates, who have been working for years to expose the need for a school food re-haul, finally have some very big guns in their corner.