Dole Food Company today was joined by Mayor of Port Hueneme Sylvia Schnopp, Mayor Pro Tem of Oxnard Dr. Irene Pinkard and others to mark the donation of two salad bars to the Fred L. Williams School in Oxnard, Calif., and the Richard Bard School in Port Hueneme, Calif.
Speakers at the Dole Salad Bar Donation Event at Oxnard School. From left: Marty Ordman, Dole Food Company; Bobby Banana; Dr. Irene Pinkard, Mayor Pro Tem of Oxnard; Sylvia Schnopp, Mayor of Port Hueneme; Carolina Ugarte, Network for a Healthy California; Vanessa Hernandez, Representative from the office of Congresswoman Lois Capps; and Edgar Terry, Terry Farms, Inc. (Photo: Business Wire)
Tuesday’s event underscored practical actions schools can take to combat the growing obesity epidemic by providing healthy lunch options. It also recognized an innovative school district that is working to ensure its students understand the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day.
“According to the Farm Bureau of Ventura County, our farms produce enough strawberries each year to provide for the annual consumption of 85 million Americans. It would take 135 million Americans to consume the county’s annual celery crop and 45 million to eat all its avocados,” said Mayor Schnopp. “It’s only right that the students who live here have access to fresh salad on a daily basis. Overall, increasing our consumption of fruits and vegetables will go a long way toward reversing the obesity epidemic for both children and adults.”
As with so many places throughout the U.S., childhood obesity rates are a serious concern in the state of California. One in three California children ages nine to 11 are at risk of becoming, or are already, overweight. Research has indicated that the widespread availability and relatively low cost of junk food in schools has contributed significantly to the rise of obesity.
“Salad bar donations are a natural extension of Dole’s ongoing commitment to childhood nutrition,” said Marty Ordman, Dole’s Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications. “By targeting school settings, we can help young people make healthier choices and get more fruits and vegetables on their plates.”
Earlier this year, the USDA and First Lady Michelle Obama announced the MyPlate initiative to have fruits and vegetables make up half of our plates at every meal. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises consumers to eat more vegetables and fruits because most do not consume the recommended quantities or variety. Food prices, along with taste, convenience, income, and awareness of the link between diet and health, shape food choices. With these efforts and guidelines in place, it is more important than ever for students to have access to the right kinds of food in school settings.
About Hueneme Elementary School District
Hueneme Elementary School District educates approximately 8,000 kindergarten through eighth grade students in nine elementary schools and two junior high schools. The demographics of students in the district are 80 percent Hispanic, 8.6 percent Caucasian, 5.3 percent Filipino, 2.9 percent African American, .05 percent Asian, .06 percent Pacific Islander, and .3 percent American Indian. Approximately 51.8 percent of our students are limited English-speaking or non-English speaking.
About Dole Food Company
Dole, with 2010 net revenues of $6.9 billion, is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.
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Marty Ordman, 818-874-4834