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    ‘Renegade Lunch Lady’ and Whole Foods to Help Fund School Salad Bars

    Schools can apply for grants to fund salad bars at www.saladbarproject.org.

    With the vision of placing a healthy salad bar in every public school in America, Chef Ann Cooper’s Food, Family, Farming Foundation (F3), Boulder, Colo., and natural and organic foods retailer Whole Foods Market have begun accepting applications from schools for a free salad bar kit.

    “The No. 1 one thing a school can do to improve its food is to add a healthy salad bar and allow children to make their own healthy choices,” said Cooper, also known as the “Renegade Lunch Lady,” who serves as director of nutrition services at the Boulder Valley School District and founder of the F3 Foundation and TheLunchBox.org. “Kids have the right to a wholesome, delicious meal which includes access to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins, every school day.”

    Starting today through November 1, schools can apply for the grant online at www.saladbarproject.org. Applicants must participate in the National School Lunch Program and demonstrate a commitment to sustaining a healthy cafeteria salad bar. This project is an initiative of TheLunchBox.org, a group which provides solutions for making healthier, fresh and made-from-scratch food available to schoolchildren across the country.

    F3 is the granting institution and will collect and approve school applications. Schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and are within a 50-mile radius of any Whole Foods store are eligible to apply.

    To fund the short-term goal of donating 300 salad bars to public schools in the communities Whole Foods serves, the grocer’s shoppers have already donated $679,093 just three weeks into the campaign. This equates to 271 salad bars. Schools selected by F3 for free salad bar kits will be announced by Jan. 15, 2011 and salad bar kits will be shipped to schools within a month.

    “It is so invigorating to see our shoppers are as passionate as we are about making healthier, fresh food available to school children in one of the most tangible ways. We are so appreciative they have embraced this fundraiser and that children in our communities will soon benefit from their generosity,” said Marci Frumkin, executive marketing director for Whole Foods. “We have already raised 90 percent of our fundraising goal of $750,000 and we invite everyone to help spread the word to school administrators about the simple grant application at saladbarproject.org.”

    Each school that is chosen will receive a portable, five-well Cambro salad bar complete with utensils, pan inserts, chilling pads and training tools. TheLunchBox.org will provide the necessary training tools and ongoing support to help ensure proper management. Grant awards will be based on need, potential for impact, commitment to the program and potential for future viability when the grant period has ended.

    Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods operates more than 280 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

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