Agriculture

Healthier lunches on the way for local school children

Sunnyslope School will add a salad bar to its cafeteria, through partnership with Grower-Shipper Association Foundation

The San Benito County Public Health Department announced that Hollister School District has formed a partnership with the Grower-Shipper Association Foundation (Grower-Shipper) to provide the Hollister School District with a salad bar that will be located at the Sunnyslope Elementary School cafeteria. Officials have scheduled the official unveiling and introduction of the salad bar at the school at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Here is the press release announcing the food plan:

As part of their commitment to fight against childhood obesity, Grower-Shipper’s Foundation works with local food service directors to help find effective solutions to getting more fresh produce into school cafeterias.

“Our foundation is committed to the idea that every child should have access to healthy food options,” said Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin, president of the Grower-Shipper Association Foundation. “We are fortunate to have partners throughout the grower shipper community who value our mission, and through that support, have allowed our organization the ability to bring resources to schools throughout the region.”

As a result of this unique partnership, students at Sunnyslope School have healthier options for their lunch time meal. "It is an amazing sight to not only see the students excited about salad, but also enjoying it as a healthy lunch option," said Joe Rivas, Sunnyslope's principal.

Not only does the salad bar provide healthy and delicious options, it cuts down on both food and package waste that would ultimately end up in the landfill. 

“Public Health Department staff measured the amount of food and package waste before and after the installment of the salad bar and found that, on average the salad bar saves 24.36 pounds food waste and 51.84 pounds package waste per day. Multiplied by all the schools in our county and this creates a lot of needless waste,” said Erika Vallin with the Public Health Department. “More importantly, it’s great to see these students have options in what and how much fresh fruits and vegetables they want to eat oppose to pre-package, less healthy lunches."

Ann Pennington, Hollister School District's nutritionist, said, "the students were super excited when we first rolled it out. Not having a salad bar before, the students didn't quite know how to use one. After a few days, they totally understood how to use it and the lines moved smoothly. Now they look forward to seeing what is on the salad bar and making their own choices."  

Samantha Hernandez, the parent of a third-grade Sunnyslope student said, “It’s a good idea because it gives students options to pick not only vegetables, but also fruit and promotes healthy eating for kids. My daughter really likes it. All Hollister School District schools should have a salad bar."

BenitoLink Staff