Encouraging Kids to Eat Produce
Every day, millions of children eat meals in public schools. What’s being done to make sure that those foods include fresh fruits and vegetables like those grown here in California?
The Urban School Food Alliance was formed seven years ago when 12 of the largest school districts in the country joined forces to improve the kinds of foods available to their students. Dr. Katie Wilson is the Executive Director of the Urban School Food Alliance.
Wilson… “There are a lot of challenges in urban school districts. Fresh produce, there are a lot of challenges to handling it. Making sure we reduce waste, encouraging children to choose it. Should be the go to thing so that when we have concession stands and snacks and parties in our classrooms, it can be done that produces what's reached for instead of some of the other lower nutrient value foods.”
Dr. Wilson, there talking to California Ag Today’s Patrick Cavanaugh, says that it’s not only the right thing for students, but a huge market opportunity for the produce industry.
Wilson… “The schools are really a huge marketplace for the produce industry. I think sometimes people forget that schools are the biggest business in the country. They have their commercial side, they have their institutional side. So sometimes when they have things that really go well on the commercial side, they forget to show it to the institutional side because in their mind it would never work. In school nutrition let us decide whether it works or not. But it is absolutely a growing marketplace for the produce industry.”
Dr. Wilson says the Urban School Food Alliance hopes to offer students a variety of good foods for lifelong healthy habits.