A major trade association is taking steps to recognize the efforts of school lunch programs that encourage fruit and vegetable consumption in their meals.

The United Fresh Start Foundation is celebrating National School Lunch Week — currently underway — by calling attention to school districts that continue to offer a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetable choices for students, despite challenges posed by COVID-19.

Andrew Marshall, director of foodservice and foundation partnerships for the United Fresh Produce Association, said the effort will focus on “highlighting schools that are making fresh produce options a priority through on-trend, visually appealing salads, produce-centric main dishes and sides.

“We also are celebrating school nutrition leaders who are committed to maintaining the fruit and vegetable serving requirements, ensuring children throughout their communities have access to a variety of fresh produce,” he added.

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The effort will use interviews posted to social media with school nutrition professionals from Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and New York City.

The organization also called out USDA’s recent announcement of extended waivers for school lunch programs through the end of 2021 and said it will “continue offering support to schools on sourcing, serving and promoting fresh produce to students.”

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