“It’s such a disservice to the students,” Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin, vice president of community development at Taylor Farms, said of the removal. “The industry has worked very hard to fund these salad bars for the schools. I think the children deserve access to fresh fruits and vegetables, especially in this county where they’re grown.”
D’Arrigo-Martin has led Grower-Shipper Association Foundation efforts to offer trainings to area schools on starting and strengthening salad bar programs.
“There’s labor involved in maintaining one, but there’s a way to do it cost effectively if there’s buy-in from the top down,” she said. “Everybody’s got to work together on it. I think we can help them be successful in relaunching their program.”
D’Arrigo-Martin planned to meet with the district’s superintendent. “It’s not our role to go up against the labor union, but we want to provide support,” she said.
Jennifer Gerard, the district’s director of nutrition services, is a longtime supporter of Let’s Move who’s conducted trainings for schools statewide. She could not immediately be reached for comment. In May the district had a representative at United Fresh 2013 in San Diego as the trade group celebrated 436 salad bar donations to California schools. The union raised objections in Monterey the week before.
“Leave it to a district in the middle of an area that grows fruits and vegetables for this to happen,” Marshall said. “Kids and parents are saying, ‘We want our salad bars back.’ We’re cautiously optimistic that next (school) year everything will be back up and running.”