The Urban School Food Alliance (the Alliance), a coalition of the largest school districts in the United States [New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas, Orange County (Orlando), Broward County (Fort Lauderdale), Clark County (Las Vegas), Philadelphia, Baltimore City and Boston], celebrates Fresh Attitude Week from May 7-11, 2018. In collaboration with the French Department of Agriculture and in partnership with Interfel (French Inter-Branch Association of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables which created Fresh Attitude Week), Fresh Attitude Week has become an annual event in Alliance districts in America, along with schools in France and Italy to raise awareness about the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in schools.
“Studies show that the younger people try various fruits and vegetables, the more likely they are to continue consuming them as adults,” said Leslie Fowler, secretary of the Urban School Food Alliance and chief of Nutrition and Facilities Operations at Chicago Public Schools. “Many of our students live in neighborhoods considered food deserts, without access to produce. Our goal in our schools is to provide all students access to nutrient-rich foods that include fruits and vegetables for their health and wellness so they can do well in school.”
Fresh Attitude Week celebrations have helped raise the popularity of produce in school meals. The Alliance districts has been successful in increasing fresh fruits and vegetable consumption in schools during Fresh Attitude Week from year to year. In 2015, Alliance districts served 5.9 million servings of fruits and vegetables during Fresh Attitude Week. In 2016, consumption increased to 8.6 million servings. That number further increased in 2017 by 34 percent to 11.5 million servings.
“We are pleased to see that the United States has achieved impressive success to implement and develop the concept of Fresh Attitude Week, which was created in France in 2005,” said Bruno Dupont, president of Interfel. “The American example demonstrates the interest of cross-cultural exchange which is inspiring for other countries, especially European ones. Thanks to our American friends!”
Of their total annual budget of $831 million in food and food supplies, the Urban School Food Alliance districts purchase more than $91 million worth of fruits and vegetables a year.
For Fresh Attitude Week, Alliance districts will conduct the following activities to highlight fresh produce in school meals:
- Highlight “Harvest of the Month” items
- Serve new fresh fruits and vegetables during breakfast and lunch
- Host local farmers visits to educate students about “farm-to-school” efforts
- Perform chef cooking demonstrations at school sites
- Donate gardening kits to various school gardens
- Conduct open houses for local media outlets to capture Fresh Attitude Week activities