NEW YORK, May 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Urban School Food Alliance (the Alliance), a coalition of the largest school districts in the United States that includes New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas and Orange County in Orlando, celebrates Fresh Attitude Week from May 9-13, 2016. 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 now become an annual event in America, along with France and Italy, to highlight fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals. This year, school districts in Chicago and New York will also host a French delegation to exchange ideas on how to encourage students to make healthy food choices.
"We're honored to host the French delegation," said Alliance Chairman Eric Goldstein, who also serves as chief executive officer of School Support Services for the New York City Department of Education. "We're proud to showcase our campuses and the innovative and healthy meals we serve our students. The French are renowned for their food culture and this exchange is integral to our commitment to serve quality, healthy food in schools for both countries."
During Fresh Attitude Week, the French delegation will meet city leaders, tour campuses to learn about how school gardens play an important role in food service as well as meet farmers and visit local farms where school food is grown.
"Our organization has been working for 40 years in the fight against childhood obesity by implementing actions that encourage the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables," Bruno Dupont, president of Interfel. "Since 2005, we have organized events throughout France to encourage such activities and I am very proud that Fresh Attitude Week is now being celebrated across the Atlantic. It is a great honor to celebrate it with the Urban School Food Alliance in the U.S. this year, and I'm sure it will be a great success."
In 2014, the French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry invited members of the Urban School Food Alliance to visit France to observe how the French government and the fruit and vegetable sector promote food awareness and healthy eating in schools. In particular, classes encourage French students to sample a variety of food items using their five senses and to share their experience with their peers, ultimately strengthening the food culture of France for future generations.
"During Fresh Attitude Week, we will not only serve fresh items that students are familiar with in schools," said Leslie Fowler, executive director of Nutrition Support Services at Chicago Public Schools. "We will also introduce them to new fruits and vegetables to expand their palates and attitude towards food. Many inner city students live in food deserts with little access to fresh items, so we believe it is important to educate them about a variety of produce available in the marketplace."
For Fresh Attitude Week, the six school districts in the Alliance will conduct activities such as:
- Serve new fresh fruits and vegetables during breakfast and lunch
- Feature unique fresh salad offerings
- Highlight student-created vegetable recipes
- Host local farmers visits to educate students about "farm-to-school" efforts
- Showcase food art in cafeterias
- Offer fresh and healthy recipes from France and around the country for families to try at home
The six districts in the Urban School Food Alliance purchase $70 million worth of fruits and vegetables a year, 55 percent of which are locally sourced. Their total annual budget is $550 million in food and food supplies. All the districts in the group are also moving towards an antibiotic-free standard for companies to follow when supplying chicken products to their schools.
About the Urban School Food Alliance
The Urban School Food Alliance was created by school food professionals in 2012 to address the unique needs of the nation's largest school districts. The nonprofit group allows the districts to share best practices and leverage their purchasing power to continue to drive quality up and costs down while incorporating sound environmental practices. The six founding cities, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Dallas and Orlando, together offer service in over 4,500 schools to 2.9 million children daily. This translates to over 500 million meals a year. The coalition aims to ensure that all public school students across the nation receive healthy, nutritious meals through socially responsible practices. To learn more about the Urban School Food Alliance or to support its work, please visit UrbanSchoolFoodAlliance.org.
Interfel (French Inter-Branch Association of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables) is the lead promotional organization for fresh fruits and vegetables in France, representing all aspects of the sector from production to distribution, including school canteens and education in schools. www.lesfruitsetlegumesfrais.com / www.interfel.com
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SOURCE Urban School Food Alliance