Working together to put a salad bar in every Richmond school!
The Richmond Food Policy School Food Campaign runs from January 2015 – December 2015. Our overarching goal is for every school in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) to have a salad bar as part of their school food service program so that every child—from elementary school, to middle school, to high school—has daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins. School salad bars provide children a way to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into their daily diet and offer educational opportunities for the community around healthy eating. This pilot campaign’s goal is to improve student access to whole, nutrient dense foods in Richmond schools with the installation of four (4) salad bars in Richmond elementary schools increasing the total number of salad bars in Richmond schools to five.
The campaign features innovative community educational and awareness components built in, and intended to support the school salad bar policies and promote healthy behaviors amongst students and staff. Adopting robust, regular education programs to educate the students from the moment they start visiting their cafeterias equipped with salad bars will allow us to grow their appetite for fresh foods over the long term.We will also support the advocacy efforts of a parent network whose focus is the to support the adoption and implementation of salad bar policies within the school district and sites. Through collaboration with other partners working on health and food issues we will provide both parents and students with food system education and opportunities to volunteer in community based participatory research projects that help guide and inform food policies within schools and their neighborhoods.
Studies show that introduction of school salad bars increases the amount and variety of fruits and vegetables consumed by children in schools. One of the most comprehensive studies on the impact of school salad bars is a 24-hour food recall study conducted in elementary school children (ages 7–11) from low-income households participating in a salad bar program in the Los Angeles Unified School District In this study, researchers found that introduction of a school salad bar in three schools resulted in an increase in frequency of fruits and vegetables consumed during the day (change due almost entirely to an increased intake at lunch) among the students. When the diets were analyzed, the intake of energy, cholesterol, saturated fat, and total fat was found to be significantly lower in children after the introduction of salad bars compared to before.
Additionally, local data supports the need for the installation of salad bars in schools. Students in Richmond schools eat most of their meals at school. Of the 29,500 students enrolled in WCCUSD 69% of the 30,653 meals served daily are served to students that participate in the free or reduced price meal program. Richmond schools receive over 90% of those meals. Children significantly increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables when given a variety of choices on a school salad bar.
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980.
- Approximately 17% (12.5 million) of U.S children and adolescents ages 2 – 19 years are obese.
- Obese children and adolescents have a greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem.
- Obese children are more likely to become obese adults. Adult obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Furthermore, school salad bars are a sustainable way to utilize school garden vegetables and let kids taste what they’ve grown. School salad bars help students learn what fresh raw produce is and where food comes from, creating familiarity and ultimately consumption of fresh produce. Both the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), and the CDE encourage the use of salad bars in school meal programs. Significant data indicate that salad bars can be an effective means of increasing student fruit and vegetable consumption. In their report, School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children, the Institute of Medicine cited a 2007 study noting that “salad bar programs in public schools indicate positive effects on fruit and vegetable consumption.” In addition, data from the School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study-II (SNDA) and SNDA-III indicate that schools with salad bars offer a wider variety of fruits and vegetables than other schools. Salad bars may also lower plate waste in school meal programs.
The cost for installation of one (1) salad bar in a Richmond school is $4000. In preliminary conversations with WCCUSD Food Service Director Barbara Jellison would prefer funds to purchase the necessary equipment, rather than receiving prefabricated salad bars stands that are donated by Whole Foods, in order to configure each salad bar appropriately for each space. WCCUSD currently has a total of five schools: four elementary schools ( Nystrom, Lincoln, Grant, and Peres) and one middle school (Lavonya), which are already equipped with 3-compartment sinks for food preparation, multiple lunch periods/speed lines, & POS terminals.
School Food Campaign Strategies, Outcomes and Outputs:
Outcome I: Installation of salad bars at four (4) elementary schools and one middle school in BHC Richmond catchment areas
Install salad bars in four of five Richmond schools that meet the infrastructure and school time requirements, and have a community kitchen with a triple compartment sink that may be viable to use for school salad bars.
Output II: Four (4) units equipment installed and used in daily food service
Outcome III: Student engagement and education All students understand the importance of fruits and vegetables in their diet. Students gain a better understanding of the importance of maintaining healthy weight and as well as acquire a lasting knowledge around local food systems, food origins, how food gets to their plate and what the nutritional benefits of eating are.
Objective A: Development of a 16 week curriculum “World Tour Veggie Taste D’Jour”
Innovative, K-8 grade appropriate nutrition education program offered in English and Spanish offered for 16 weeks per school year to classrooms on a rotating schedule, (6 classes per week) that will introduce 1,800 children to a variety of culturally diverse fruits and vegetables, allows them to taste new fruits and vegetables and teaches the history of food – where it was first produced, and how it came to be popular in other places. It will also explore food systems (Farm to Table), how fruits and vegetables are freshest right when they are picked, and how when traveling long distances, they lose nutrients and flavor. Utilizing the WCCUSD Harvest of the Month program the curriculum will also use the monthly produce in tastings to highlight the benefit of eating foods in season with the overarching goal of increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables among students and supporting a healthy environment.
Introduce children to a variety of culturally diverse fruits and vegetables
Food Tastings- Harvest of the Month program and USDA nutrition resources (WCCUSD participates)
Discuss where the produce came from, how the farmer started their farm, and what relationship the farm has to your community.
Objective B: Rainbow on My Plate
Rainbow on My Plate is ongoing marketing and communications for the salad bars, will reach 1,800 children over the course of the campaign and teach the nutritional importance of eating a well balanced, fiber rich diet as well as the health benefits gained eating different colored fruits/vegetables, in a incentive based, visually stimulating learning environment.
With the input of parents and faculty the salad bar design will include:
Salad Bar Menu Board:
Using a menu board to inform the students what is on the salad bars daily will enable us to highlight the salad bar in a direct way.
Featuring one or two special products; either a seasonal item (Harvest of the Month) or a composed salad or a new dressing to help attract children to salad bar and reinforce the names of unfamiliar ingredients
Order and post nutrition education materials (posters,handouts, etc. from USDA, County)
Salad Bar Signs and Food Labels:
In addition to the menu, we will reinforce the names of unfamiliar ingredients with labels
Creative names for the vegetables in the salad bar and display the names on the salad bar shield (i.e. X-ray vision carrots)
Use of student reminder signs in the salad bar area to encourage good salad bar etiquette
Using visually stimulating My Plate posters and other print media, ultimately the school cafeterias will be transformed into learning environments which promotes a culture of good eating habits, a good nutrition
Over the course of the school year students will:
Participate in seasonal student coloring contests with My Plate coloring pages that promote all five food groups and the consumption of nutrient dense foods
Receive stickers, cookbooks, and other inexpensive prizes/ rewards to children/families for completing nutrition meal plan activities, crossword puzzles and other interactive activities at school/community outreach events
Receive information on the foods in the salad bars, their health benefits in helping with preventable diseases in the community (diabetes, hypertension, gout) and introduce the idea that salad bars do not only consist of lettuce and/or greens but also fruits and/or vegetables, whole grain salads, fiber rich foods, proteins such as hard-boiled eggs, beans, chicken, tuna, cheese, yogurt nuts and dried fruits, walnuts, almonds, and seeds
Receive free USDA My Plate, Team Nutrition and various food commision resources and print marketing materials
Objective C: Parent Education
Provide 1000 parents and students with food system education and provide students opportunities to volunteer in community based participatory research projects that help guide and inform food policies within schools and their neighborhoods
March 2015 Back to School Night Salad Bar Tastings (One Elementary, One Middle School)
September 2015 Back to School Night Salad bar tastings (One Elementary, One Middle School)
In partnership with WCCUSD Food and Nutrition Services and members of parent school engagement groups (Parent Coffee Clubs, School Site Councils) guide group efforts to move food policy issues at school sites
Garden Class component to support salad bars and what’s happening inside the cafeteria. (Seasonal cooking classes, demonstrations, and nutrition lessons focusing on seasonal fruits and vegetables) at target schools, and our second phase school Verde Elementary in N. Richmond with infrastructure for the class (functioning school gardens and supportive staff/administration)
Outcome III: Community Engagement – Parent and Resident Power Building
Leverage existing resources and relationships to facilitate community-wide participation in our campaign to install salad bars in four Richmond elementary schools in the BHC Richmond target neighborhoods;
Engage and Outreach to 500 WCCUSD students, parents and families. In partnership with other grassroots organizations the Richmond Food Policy Council will co-sponsor or sponsor and coordinate 1-2 community-wide school food campaign events/ tours focused on school salad bars that provide educational and second touch opportunities for parents and community members to further engage in food policy advocacy.
Nutrition Olympics with community Partners already hosting programs in WCCUSD schools ( YES, BACR, The Latina Center, Urban Tilth, CCHS, Kaiser, Playworks and more.)
In partnership with Bay Area Community Resources BACR and the Urban Nutrition Initiative. 6-12 parents and Gompers Continuation High School students to work within WCCUSD to do surveys, taste testing, monitor lunch lines, create student buy in, promote nutrition education, etc.
Creation of a cross site parent network that meets periodically to support the implementation of salad bar policies within the school sites, incorporate Farm-to-School strategies into the school wellness policy, build resident leadership and advocacy around school food policy, develop policies for staff, students and parents to ensure consistency with the school day and provide an organized channel for parents and community groups to develop and move other food policy efforts. Systematically develop the leadership of the Richmond community and WCCUSD parents so that they play a more significant role in advocacy for the salad bars and community-wide food policy development in Richmond
Outcome IV: Policy Change
Work with the school district and other agencies with the explicit goal of having salad bars in all WCCUSD schools,
Identify like policies and connect with regional food services departments in other school districts to identify needs, strengths, to inform our policy advocacy efforts.
Draft policy language that reflects the current and future nutritional needs of the and seek a resolution from the City of Richmond
Collaborate with School Board, WCCUSD district Nutrition & Food Services, community leaders, students and parents to officially adopt a complete and strategy driven Nutrition and Wellness Policy within WCCUSD
Lobby WCCUSD Nutrition & Food Services department to join the regional food hub currently being developed to increase sustainability of campaign and to support the procurement of the appropriate volume of fresh produce needed for continued success.
Outcome IV: Project Evaluation
RFPC will use evaluation in the Healthy School Food Campaign to contribute to the overall learning of community members regarding food system policy, and comprehensive community change locally, regionally, and statewide through the development of tools, practices, and policies to connect our collaborative strategies to our larger goal.
RFPC and our partners will design shared data identification, and collection tools for use during both community and school events
Track participation on sign in sheets, use a database to track number of touches and level of engagement
Conduct post event analysis of strategies for impact, reflection, course correction, and impact as well as foster shared discovery.
Strategically use evaluation to advance collective understanding of best practices and lessons learned in designing and implementing comprehensive community development initiatives that align with the City of Richmond’s General Plan Health and Wellness Element, by incorporating evaluation as a standing agenda item at RFPC meetings