Michigan Schools Receive Salad Bars Courtesy of United Fresh Start Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
WARREN, MI - Those in our industry know the importance of fresh produce. United Fresh is taking this to heart, donating salad bars to seventeen Michigan schools to increase healthy options for students. The salad bars are part of the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which provides equipment and resources to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. Since 2015, 91 salad bars have been placed in Michigan schools through the partnership between United Fresh and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
“This partnership demonstrates the value of collaboration with like-minded organizations to benefit our children and empower their healthy choices each day,” said Tom Stenzel, President and CEO, United Fresh. “When a school implements a salad bar, in addition to offering fresh choices, it’s often the catalyst for a conversation amongst students, teachers, parents, and the community about choosing more fresh fruits and vegetables for better health, whether that’s at school, shopping at the grocery store, or while dining out."
“We at Blue Cross are proud to continue this collaborative effort that has empowered more than 45,000 Michigan students statewide to make healthier choices at school,” said Lynda Rossi, Executive Vice President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
According to a press release, research shows that incorporating salad bars into school lunches increases children’s consumption of fresh fruits and veggies. A salad bar is one of the most effective strategies to achieve this goal. When offered healthy food choices in salad bars, children respond by trying new items, incorporating greater variety into their diets, and increasing daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Salad bars also help schools comply with the National School Lunch Program’s nutrition standards, which require offering a colorful variety of vegetable options each week.
Michigan schools receiving salad bars from the 2019-2020 collaboration, include:
- Ross Beatty High School, Cassopolis
- Marquette Elementary-Middle School, Detroit
- Genesee STEM Academy, Flint
- Mott Middle College High School, Flint
- International Academy of Flint, Flint
- Amerman Elementary School, Northville
- Ridge Wood Elementary School, Northville
- Conner Creek Academy East Elementary, Roseville
- Stone Elementary School, Saginaw
- Chester Miller Elementary School, Saginaw
- New Bedford Academy, Southfield
- Sterling Elementary, Standish
- Mound Park Elementary School, Warren
- Chatterton Middle School, Warren
- Fitzgerald High School, Warren
- Universal Learning Academy, Westland
- Estabrook Early Learning, Ypsilanti
The United Fresh Start Foundation is a founding partner of the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which to date has helped facilitate the donation of salad bars to over 5,600 schools, benefitting 3 million children in all fifty states.
Additional programs of the United Fresh Start Foundation include, The School Foodservice Forum, a networking and education event to connect school nutrition leaders with the produce industry at the annual United Fresh Convention & Expo, and the Community Innovation Grants Program, which supports collaboration with like-minded stakeholders to increase children’s access, selection, and consumption of fresh produce outside the school day.
Thank you to United Fresh for paving the way for healthier eating!