Students at nine Durango schools will get to select fresh fruits and vegetables for lunch from new salad bars at their schools.
“We want to encourage our students to try new foods, to eat healthy and to offer them during lunch,” said Krista Garand, student nutrition services director for Durango School District 9-R. “The Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools grant allows us to add or replace salad bars in schools when we would not have been able to do it on our own.”
The salad bars support 9-R’s farm-to-school initiative and its dedication to providing fresh, locally sourced food when possible, 9-R spokeswoman Julie Popp said. “They knew it was coming and were so excited,” Florida Mesa Elementary School Principal Vanessa Fisher said of her school’s students, who inaugurated their salad bar Thursday. “We were already so lucky because our school has great food, and I know because I eat lunch here every day. It’s nutritious and delicious. This will just make it even better.”
The fully funded package includes a portable salad bar along with trays and serving utensils. In the case of 9-R’s seven elementary schools – Needham, Riverview, Park, Florida Mesa, Sunnyside, Animas Valley and Fort Lewis Mesa – the salad bars are designed for younger kids and are scaled to their size.
Durango and Big Picture high schools will receive the other two salad bars awarded in the grant. Escalante and Miller Middle schools have built-in salad bars.
Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools is a nonprofit that awards money to schools in the order in which applications are received. The district submitted its application about two years ago, Popp said.
Three of Durango’s salad bars were funded by the Colorado Potato Association.
“We were challenged by the U.S. Potato Board to become involved in the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative,” said Linda Weyers, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Potato Association. The association donated money for 10 salad bars across the state this year.
Since its founding in 2010, the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools Initiative has raised nearly $11.5 million and donated almost 4,500 salad bars. It estimates more than 2.2 million kids have been served. The nonprofit has 348 schools on the waiting list for salad bars.