A delegation from France is visiting Chicago Public Schools this week to promote using fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals.
The Urban School Food Alliance, Interfel and the French Department of Agriculture are working together to celebrate Fresh Attitude Week, May 9-13. The Urban School Food Alliance is a coalition of the largest U.S. school districts, which includes CPS. The French delegation also is visiting New York to exchange ideas on how to encourage students to make healthy food choices.
Representatives from the French Department of Agriculture will meet city leaders, tour campuses to learn the significant role school gardens play in food service and visit with farmers at local farms where school food is grown. They’ll be joined by members of Interfel, a French organization that promotes fruits and vegetables and is the creator of Fresh Attitude Week.
“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, was quoted as saying in a written statement. “It’s 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.”
The Urban School Alliance provides over 500 million meals a year in over 4,5000 schools to 2.9 million children daily. About 55 percent of the $70 million worth of fruits and vegetables purchased each year by the Alliance is locally sourced.
In 2014, the French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry invited members of the Urban School Food Alliance to France, where they observed how the French government and the fruit and vegetable sector promote food awareness and healthy eating in schools.
“During Fresh Attitude Week, we will not only serve fresh items that students are familiar with in schools. We will also introduce them to new fruits and vegetables to expand their palates and attitude towards food,” Leslie Fowler, executive director of Nutrition Support Services at Chicago Public Schools, said in the statement.
Activities during Fresh Attitude Week in Chicago include: serving new fresh fruits and vegetables during breakfast and lunch; showcasing unique fresh salads, highlighting student-created veggie recipes; hosting local farmers visits, focusing on food art in cafeterias; and offering fresh and healthy recipes from France for families to try cooking at home.