The Salad Bars to Schools partnership was founded by Whole Foods Market, Chef Ann Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance and United Fresh Start Foundation, and has invested over $12 million across all 50 states for 5,000 salad bars providing over 2.5 million children with daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

School food leaders from across the country joined Mrs. McAuliffe at Lynbrook Elementary School in Springfield, VA last week during National School Lunch Week to not only celebrate the milestone but also to reinforce the simple fact that when given the opportunity to choose fresh vegetables, kids will make the choice and eat vegetables.

Lynbrook Elementary is currently one of 22 schools in Fairfax County Public School District with a salad bar. The district has committed to implementing salad bars in all of its schools and Salad Bars to Schools recently announced it will fund 50 of the new salad bars.

Joining the First Lady of Virginia in the celebration were Chef Ann Cooper, chef and founder of The Chef Ann Foundation; Nona Evans, executive director of Whole Kids Foundation; Dr. Diane Harris, lead scientist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Rodney Taylor, Fairfax County Public Schools Director of Food & Nutrition Services; Betti Wiggins, a school lunch reform champion in Detroit who is now serving as the officer of nutrition services for Houston Independent School District, and many other national food leaders and food service directors from across the country.

When kids have access to a salad bar at school, they eat more produce (The PEW Charitable Trusts), and eating nutritious food is linked to their academic success (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); specifically, higher grades and standardized test scores, reduced absenteeism and improved cognitive performance. For these reasons, school salad bars are in high demand.