OAKLAND, Calif., March 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The makers of
Hidden Valley(R) ranch dressings, today announced the Love Your Veggies(TM)
Nationwide School Lunch Campaign grant winners. The initiative will provide
$15,000 grants to five public elementary schools to support programs for
increased access to, and consumption of, fresh vegetables.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070320/SFTU116-a )
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070320/SFTU116-b )
Millions of students nationwide consume lunch at school daily. And, for
many children, it is the most important meal of the day, contributing one-
third to one-half of their nutritional intake, according to USDA. Studies
show about 80 percent of children and adolescents do not eat the minimum
recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. With the significance
of lunch in a student's diet and childhood obesity levels continuing to
rise, schools are an integral source to ensure kids are getting the right
foods each day.
"Unfortunately many schools do not have access to fresh fruits and
vegetables, which makes it hard for students to eat a well-balanced meal,"
says Lisa Partnoy, marketing manager of Hidden Valley(R) ranch dressings.
"We created the Love Your Veggies(TM) initiative as a response to Local
Wellness Policies that went into effect at the start of the school year. A
moderate amount of ranch dressing helps encourage kids to eat more veggies,
so we wanted to do something to help schools promote healthy eating. Seeing
the response to the grant program was wonderful -- the schools that
submitted applications all demonstrated a commitment to making improved
nutrition a priority in the lives of their students."
More than 100 schools across the country applied for the Hidden
Valley(R) Love Your Veggies(TM) grants, but this school year, only five
could be chosen as the recipients. The winning grant proposals were chosen
based on creativity, sustainability, and overall student and faculty
participation in the program. The Love Your Veggies(TM) grant recipients
-- Garden City Elementary School (Indianapolis, IN): Plan to install a new
veggie bar stocked with assorted produce, an expansion of the school
garden for students to tend, and a new after-school club available to
all students called "Be Healthy, Be Fit."
-- Lakeland Elementary School (Humble, TX): Will create Captain Healthy
Star's Vegetable Garden in their cafeteria, a new veggie bar to be
stocked with fresh produce, as well as ongoing education on the
benefits of specific vegetables.
-- Seahurst Elementary School (Burien, WA): Plan to install a new veggie
bar to be stocked daily with seasonal produce, a 10-week Food $ense
CHANGE garden-based nutrition education program, and fun food and
nutrition activities scheduled throughout the school year.
-- South Hamilton Elementary School (Jewell, IA): Pledged to get their
students healthy via "Veggie Victories!" an interactive program
featuring a veggie bar stocked with fresh produce, a physical activity
of the month and a veggie of the week, along with a classroom incentive
program to excite students and encourage involvement.
-- Victor Herbert Elementary School (Chicago, IL): Plan to introduce a new
veggie bar that will be stocked with fresh produce, vegetable of the
month lessons incorporated into classroom lesson plans, and cooking
demonstrations featuring nutritious produce.
Additionally, all schools will be implementing a training program on
nutrition education and food safety, and offer classroom-based nutritional
studies for the students.
Hidden Valley(R) Partnering for Success
Applications for the grants were received from Oct. 22 through Dec. 15,
2006. Applications were qualified and judged by: Jodie Shield, a registered
dietitian and complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences
in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago;
representatives from the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
(EFNEP); the School Nutrition Association (SNA), a national, non-profit
professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide
high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country; and culinary
whiz kids Olivia and Isabella Gerasole, hosts of the James Beard
award-winning cooking Web site Spatulatta.com.
"When judging the grant applications, we looked for creative and
innovative ways to enhance cafeteria meals to provide greater access to
fresh fruits and vegetables," says Janey Thornton, president of the SNA.
"Increased produce consumption is instrumental in improving a child's
long-term health and can help with weight control, decreasing risk of heart
disease, some types of cancer and diabetes and providing fiber, potassium
and other important nutrients. The Hidden Valley grant campaign helps to
address the significant shortage of produce in children's diets."
Local school events to celebrate the grant awards will include
representatives from Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), another
organization supporting the Love Your Veggies Campaign. PBH recently
renamed its healthy eating campaign from the well-known "5 A Day" to
"Fruits and Veggies -- More Matters(TM)" a more inspiring health initiative
focusing on motivating people to simply eat more fruits and veggies at
every eating occasion because they are not getting enough in their daily
"In order to meet the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, most kids need to more
than double their current intake of fruits and vegetables," states
Elizabeth Pivonka, president and CEO of PBH. "We know from our previous
work with schools that offering a school salad bar is a great way to do
this. We praise Hidden Valley for their efforts in making fruits and
vegetable more accessible in schools and the educational outreach they've
done to reach thousands of school kids. We are pleased to be partnering
with them to showcase both their efforts and our new Fruits & Veggies --
More Matters health initiative."
The Hidden Valley(R) Love Your Veggies(TM) Nationwide School Lunch
Campaign was created based on findings from a recent study with two
Northern California elementary schools conducted by University of
California at Davis and the EFNEP Butte County Cooperative Extension. One
of the most significant findings from the study was that children consumed
23 percent more vegetables when paired with a moderate amount of ranch
Nutrition Awareness Beyond the Lunch Room
A study presented at the most recent American Dietetic Association Food
and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition found that students may not
necessarily eat more vegetables by virtue of the salad bar alone if the
changes in the cafeteria are not supported by nutrition education in the
classroom. Researchers at Loyola University and the University of Illinois
at Chicago found that salad bar use soars when teachers support the new
cafeteria addition with lessons on nutrition.
To address this issue, the makers of Hidden Valley(R) ranch dressings
have partnered with Discovery Education, creators of innovative teaching
materials and resources for students, to distribute thousands of classroom
kits to elementary schools nationwide and grant recipient schools. Focused
on the theme of "Super Veggies," students will learn why some foods are
better than others and how exercise is an important part of any healthful
eating plan. A micro site with the entire curriculum kit is available at
About Hidden Valley(R)
The HV Food Products Company is a subsidiary of The Clorox Company,
headquartered in Oakland, Calif. Clorox is a leading manufacturer and
marketer of consumer products with fiscal year 2006 revenues of $4.6
billion. With 7,600 employees worldwide, the company manufactures products
in two dozen countries and markets them in more than 100 countries. For
more information about Clorox, visit http://www.TheCloroxCompany.com.
About the School Nutrition Association
The School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional
organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide
high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The
Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and
nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted
exclusively to protecting and enhancing children's health and well being
through school meals and sound nutrition education.
SOURCE Hidden Valley