Tour de Fresh and Salad Bars in Schools: A Winning Combination
by Loree Dowse | October 2018
Tour de Fresh – a four-day cycling event and fundraiser that brings together riders from the fresh produce industry – was started in 2014 as a means to get salad bars in schools. Its goal is to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to children that do not always have access to them, promote healthy nutrition and eliminate childhood obesity.
From 2014 to 2018, Tour de Fresh has raised a total of $734,476.40 and donated 224 salad bars throughout the United States through the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative. This has all happened because of the dedicated riders and sponsors that are set on feeding future generations more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Mann Packing and Del Monte Fresh had an amazing team of four riders this year: Rodman Bittner, Danny Goforth, Mark Harrison, and Alex McCloskey. They started out with the group of 50 plus riders in Kirkwood, CA and proceeded to Jackson, Livermore (in 100 degree heat!), Aptos, and to the finish line in Monterey. The group completed almost 300 miles through some challenging terrain, but Rodman did so well the 3rd day he was awarded to coveted yellow shirt at the evening gathering. Go Team Mann-Del Monte!! As a result of the riders’ cycling and fundraising efforts, Tour de Fresh was able to raise $132,000, resulting in another 40 salad bars in schools. The districts that received them were:
- Vista Unified School District-CA
- Pueblo City Schools- CO
- Laredo Independent School District- TX
- Fairfax County Public Schools- VA
These districts all have very engaged foodservice directors who are fully committed to salad bars and serving children a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. These districts also do a great job in promoting healthier school meals in general. Vista is very involved in the Farm to School initiatives; Pueblo has 13 schools now participating in the Fruit and Vegetable Program; and Fairfax is the 10th largest school district in the country with a very active parent wellness group to promote better family health for all.
We send our thanks to all of the riders and the group from California Giant Berry Farms that worked so hard to make this happen the past four years. We look forward to Tour de Fresh 2019 and hope to continue adding salad bars to school districts nationwide.