Whole Foods Market is partnering with Chef Ann Cooper, known as the "Renegade Lunch Lady," on a national effort to transform lunch in U.S. schools.

They are kicking off the  "School Lunch Revolution" campaign, which includes a Web site, thelunchbox.org, to provide resources for school foodservice directors. The effort's objective is to replace frozen, processed foods with fresh, natural, made-from-scratch foods in a realistic and cost-effective manner.

On the Web site, users will find:

  • Recipes for schools of all sizes. They can be nutritionally analyzed, tested and expensed.
  • Resources for procuring "real, natural foods, regionally and locally produced, from smaller vendors to create local food economies."
  • Training videos that range from cooking techniques to food safety.
  • Educational tools for parents and children.
  • Community activism tools to help any single person, group or task force to initiate change in a school system.

Whole Foods will help support the Lunch Box via a "School Lunch Revolution donation drive" placed at check-out stands in Whole Foods stores. It also can be accessed at wholefoodsmarket.com now through September.

"If you look at the entire picture, serving healthy food doesn't have to cost more for schools. Research from USDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that switching to healthier options has the potential to increase school lunchroom revenue," said Cooper. "I'm confident that with the right tools schools can learn how to provide more whole, fresh foods menus that nourish our children."
Source: Whole Foods Market, Meatingplace.com