Increasing Participation and Improving Public Perception in Your Operation

Take a look at this one-minute video showing food bars in use in Wenatchee Schools

One of the biggest changes I made in my first year as food service director at Wenatchee schools, seventeen years ago, was to add salad bars. We opened the very first day of school that year with salad bars at every single school and never looked back! It was an amazing improvement! People love the variety that salad bars offer and kids aren’t any different. Beautiful, fresh, colorful, and self-serve! Nothing wrong with that, right? Participation immediately began to increase and the public perception of our program was greatly improved with this one simple change!

Food bars, salad bars fruit and veggie bars, whatever you want to call them, are incredibly important in the school environment. Sure, it takes some time to train the kids. You may even need to enlist some teacher help for the kinders and first graders but they catch on quickly and they love to self select from all those fresh, colorful whole foods!

It isn’t that hard to get started either! Food bars are expensive but bowls, pans and table top sneeze shields are accessible and a great way to start if you can’t currently afford food bars.

Grant funding is available for salad bars, too. I applied for a salad bar grant during my last year at Wenatchee schools and over the course of the calendar year, I received twelve brand new food bars…for free! At an approximate value of $3,500 each, that is $42,000 worth of equipment all for filling out a grant app that took me fifteen minutes!

Salad bars are in reach for your district. If you have questions about how to get started, please let me know! Remember, we are talking about nourishing our nation’s children and that, is serious business!