Ory receives grant for new salad bar

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 16, 2011

laPlace – John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School recently received a salad bar unit through the “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools” grant program and has begun offering salads to students in grades four to eight. Bernetta Ambres, a St. John the Baptist Parish speech therapist and a frequent shopper at Whole Foods Market, wrote the grant for JLO. As she was checking out her food items, the cashier asked if she wanted to help fund salad bars for schools. This gave Ambres the idea to apply for the grant for her school.

 “I wanted our students to benefit from the extra nutrition that a salad bar offers. I know that extra nourishment through the right types of food provides the students’ brains with what they need to be alert academically,” stated Ambres.

 JLO’s salad bar is available to fourth- through eighth-graders and faculty members Tuesdays through Fridays. The students also have the option of eating the hot lunch of the day. The cost of eating at the salad bar is the same as a regular lunch. Certain stipulations also apply: there should be at least three items on the plate, and one of the items must be a protein.

 The salad bar is a hit with the students. Principal Teri Noel, noted more students than ever are eating lunch. Certain meals, particularly lasagna, still draw a hot lunch crowd, but many students are choosing to eat at the salad bar multiple times a week.

 Seventh-grader Fred Turner said, “I’m excited that our school now has a salad bar. I love all of the vegetables. I know that eating salad is healthy for you and will help to keep me fit.”

 Whole Foods Market shoppers donated more than $1.4 million after a seven-week fundraising campaign to improve school lunches through the Salad Bar Project. Whole Foods Market joined forces with Chef Ann Cooper’s non-profit, Food Family Farming Foundation, to help bring fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins to school lunch programs through an online grant process. The generous donations from Whole Foods Market’s customers funded 570 salad bars for schools across the country. To make an even larger impact in lunchrooms across the country, Whole Foods Market announced it is a founding partner of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, whose goal is to provide 6,000 salad bars across the nation by 2013.

“Our guests are incredibly passionate about supporting nutritious offerings in school lunchrooms, and we are proud to say that they helped to place salad bars in five schools throughout the Greater New Orleans area,” said Kristina Bradford, community and media relations for the Whole Foods Market Louisiana stores. 

JLO received a five-well, portable CAMBRO salad bar kit, including all the necessary pan inserts, chilling pads, utensils and training tools. In addition, the program will help schools learn to use their USDA commodities, such as diced chicken, tuna, eggs and grain to create a reimbursable meal. By providing access to fresh foods to all students who purchase a lunch, schools have the opportunity to increase awareness of healthier choices and make positive changes in the diets of all students.

 “The Veterans Team Members are thrilled to have visited the John L. Ory School and see the salad bar in operation and how much the kids enjoy it,” said Stacey Arton, store promotions specialist for the Whole Foods Market Veterans store.

 Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools is a comprehensive grassroots public health effort to mobilize and engage stakeholders at the local, state and national level to support salad bars in schools. The vision is to significantly increase salad bars in schools across the country until every child has the choice of healthy fruits and vegetables every day at school. Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools is an initiative of the Food Family Farming Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, and the United Fresh Produce Association Foundation to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign. The goal of the Initiative is to fund and award 6,000 salad bars over the next three years.