Whole Foods to the rescue

Taking the step to help children eat more healthfully.

Whole Foods, the Austin, Texas-based upscale grocery chain, is putting some money behind its pledge to help schoolchildren eat more healthfully.

Whole Foods announced that it will install salad bars in hundreds of schools around the country, under a program called The Salad Bar Project. Which schools—and how many—receive salad bars will be determined by three criteria: proximity to a Whole Foods Market (within 50 miles), how many children are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, and how able the school would be to sustain the salad bar once it were installed.

Whole Foods emphasized that it would pay only for the salad bars, at a cost of about $2,500 per bar. The schools would be responsible for keeping the bars stocked with healthful items. Deserving schools will be notified in January.

I know that it the past I have been skeptical about people, companies and organizations that have offered to pitch in to make foods healthier for schoolchildren. I have suggested that such groups may be grandstanding or, at the very least, offering solutions to the problem of childhood obesity that would be unworkable in most situations.

Not this time. Any school Whole Foods can help with this project is one more school that can take a positive step toward curing this epidemic. In a perfect world, Whole Foods and companies like it would band together and provide needed equipment for every school in the United States.

It’s not a perfect solution, but any step is better than no step. I hope Whole Foods finds more deserving schools than it can accommodate—and announce that fact, so that other companies can step in to continue the push. That would suggest two things: a large number of schools are willing to make the necessary changes in their food programs, and companies are willing to make the financial sacrifice to help them achieve their goals.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of New Mexico’s proposed on-campus taproom has officially been approved by the school’s Board of Regents.

Construction on the $650,000 student union taproom will begin this summer and is expected to finish in August when students return to campus. The school’s food vendor, Chartwells, and UNM’s Dining & Food Services department will split the cost of the taproom evenly.

Designed by students in the school’s architecture department, the space will feature a rotating selection of beer and wine, and will also welcome guest brewers. Chartwells will be...

Ideas and Innovation
cafeteria

Three years ago, Colonial School District in New Castle, Del., started a pilot supper program at its high school. The goal: To make sure the district’s students, 57% of whom are on free or reduced-priced meals, would not be hungry when school is done for the day.

Since its inception, the program has expanded to 12 schools and now provides afterschool meals to children participating in YMCA activities. And it's just one of many such programs popping up in districts throughout the country, as operators add supper to the list of daily meals they provide for students.

Building...
Ideas and Innovation
hydroponics

We put our hydroponic gardens in a spot where students can watch them grow, but at the same time it’s safe from being tampered with. At one of our elementary schools, the gardens are in the kitchen, but there’s a window where students can look in as they walk down the hallway. Some even stop to count how many cucumbers they see.

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

FSD Resources