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A New Food Future!

The importance of better connecting children with the food that they consume cannot be understated.  All too often kids have little idea where their food comes from or what they are putting into their bodies.

 

Founded by Chef Ann Cooper in 2009, the Food Family Farming Foundation (F3) is dedicated to providing schools across the nation with tools and resources to serve fresh, whole food that supports healthy eating habits and healthy food systems. School districts are major institutional buyers of food.  If they switch from serving ready-to-heat, pre-packaged foods to scratch-cooking models that support local and regional growers, they can have a significant impact on their local food systems.

Meet the Supporters:

F3 is new to the 1% for the Planet community, and they are hoping to connect with those that share their core values. National supporters include Barbara’s Bakery, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Newman’s Own Foundation, Rudi’s Bakery, Whole Foods Market, and 1% for the Planet nonprofit partners the Clif Bar Family Foundation and the Whole Kids Foundation.

Photo: Kirsten Boyer

Successes:

-       To date, F3 has improved school nutrition at over 800 school districts and impacted over 1,290,000 children.

-       The “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools” has donated salad bars to 2,500 schools, helping them nourish over 1,250,000 children.

-       The Lunch Box, F3′s online portal, provides over 19,000 visitors a month with free tools to improve kids’ nutrition.

-       Through the Lunch Box, F3 provides schools with resources regarding:

  • Building connections between salad bars and farmer’s markets
  • Using more local produce in their salad bar and overall school meal programs
  • How to incorporate school garden harvests into salad bars
  • Examples of successful farm-to-school programs
  • Freezing local harvests for year-round produce
  • Guides for regional food hubs.

The salad bars have been a fantastic addition.  We have intentionally targeted schools in areas considered low-income or food deserts, and the response from students has really been positive.  For example, when we saw a girl walking away with 1 ½ pints of cherry tomatoes, we had to assure her that the salad bar was here to stay.” - Brian Giles, Director of Food Services, Houston Independent School District, TX

Challenges

One of F3’s biggest challenges is outreach and education. Across the nation, school salad bar programs and local procurement practices are growing, but they still have a long way to go. And the big question for many is not “why” but “how.” Many communities are beginning to understand the importance of fresh, sustainably-grown school food, but they don’t know how to change. F3’s goal is to help schools and communities bridge the gap between knowledge and practice.

Photo: Kirsten Boyer

Call to Action: 

You can keep track of F3’s work in school food and other school food news on the Lunch Box blog, on Twitter at #lunchboxproject, and on The Lunch Box Facebook Page. And if you haven’t already, you can sign up for their newsletter or become a member at the F3 website. 1% for the Planet members who would like to fund F3’s work can contact team member Michele Battiste at michele@foodfamilyfarming.org or donate online.

A Healthy Future

Food Family Farming Foundation measures impact school by school, student by student. The goal is that every child in every U.S. school has access to fresh, healthy and sustainably-produced food every day. The current Lunch Box Expansion Project includes the development of free procurement tools and resources that schools will hopefully use to develop relationships with local and regional food producers.

Contact Michele Battiste, Director of Development, michele@foodfamilyfarming.org, 316-204-9446 with any further questions.

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