"Healthy Futures" - Wild River's School Nutrition Program
According to the California Department of Public Health, research shows that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily can help children maintain good health, a healthy weight, and lower risk for health-related problems. It is estimated that only three out of ten children are eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, and nearly two out of five children in our state are overweight or obese. This unhealthy weight can have a serious impact on a child’s future, putting them at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
In 2007, the Marysville Joint Unified School District (Marysville, California) received a State Wellness Grant that allowed the district to eliminate competitive “foods of minimal nutritional value” and go healthy in a big way. MJUSD selected Wild River Marketing, Inc. as its local ally to battle increasing childhood obesity rates, providing healthy alternatives to students in place of sugar-laden sodas and cookies. This partnership has resulted in the replacement of non-nutritional foods with Certified Organic kiwifruit, plums, and pluots in our local schools. The union marked the start of Wild River’s Healthy Futures School Nutrition Program which has since expanded to other school districts in Northern California.
Wild River’s Healthy Futures is a new participant in California Thursdays™ – a collaboration between the Center for Ecoliteracy, participating school districts, and allied organizations to serve healthy, freshly prepared school meals made from California-grown fruits and vegetables. Participants in the program understand the value of offering appealing school meals that support student health and academic achievement, contribute to local economies, protect the environment, and help familiarize students with the origins of their food.
California Thursdays™, part of the Center’s California Food for California Kids™ initiative, was developed and piloted during the 2013–14 school year and now includes fifteen school districts in a statewide rollout. Wild River Marketing is partnering with Sacramento City Unified School District to host parent-student breakfast and on-site Farmer’s Market events, connecting parents with the local producers who supply their schools.
Please visit CaliforniaThursdays.org to see tips for parents, delicious recipes, and opportunities for school districts to join the growing California Thursdays™ network.
Wild River is a proud supporter of the Harvest of the Month Program, a Champions for Change initiative that features nutrition education tools and resources to promote healthy lifestyle habits among California’s youth. As a program participant, our mission is to:
- Increase access to fruits and vegetables by supporting school meal programs, farm-to-school programs, school gardens, farmers’ markets, community gardens, and other community-based initiatives
- Increase consumer preference for fruits and vegetables
- Increase consumption of locally-grown foods
- Expand familiarity with California-grown fruits and vegetables, local farmers, our state’s rich agricultural bounty, and the journey of food from farm-to-fork