Back to school means back to the cafeteria, and Whole Foods, in partnership with Chef Ann Cooper (“The Renegade Lunch Lady”), is promoting The Great American Salad Bar Project in an effort to make those cafeterias healthier places to eat.

Through the project, which kicked off on August 11, 2010, Whole Foods hopes to increase awareness of the need for fresh, natural, nutritious choices for kids in our nation’s schools. For every $2500 raised, one school in the communities that surround Whole Foods locations will be able to build and sustain a salad bar for its students during the school year. Students will have the option of choosing fresh salad as their vegetable, rather than french fries or tater tots, which, yes, are considered vegetables under national standards.

A formal grant process will begin on September 1, 2010 to decide which schools will receive the salad bars. On that day, teachers and administrators working at schools within 50 miles of any Whole Foods location can go online to apply for the opportunity to have not only the salad bar, but the utensils and pans required for implementation, brought to their school.

This is a national campaign, and donations are accepted at all Whole Foods stores nationwide as well as online. The website is tracking which stores have earned the most through donations, however, it is possible to donate to the general “any store, any school” fund. Currently first in the rankings (behind the general fund),the Whole Foods flagship store at Lamar, here in Austin, has a goal of raising $10,000 in 50 days to put salad bars in four local schools. Click here to donate to the Lamar location online, or purchase $1 or $5 donation coupons at the register.

Help local Austin kids have healthier lunches!

For more information on The Great American Salad Bar Project, visit their website @

To donate to our Austin Whole Foods at Lamar, visit the donation site.

(Donations will be collected throughout August and September.)

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