This year's Tour de Fresh event, presented by The California Giant Foundation, brought record-breaking participation from riders, sponsors, and donations to support placing more than 50 salad bars in schools across the country through the Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools program, giving thousands of students access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
More than 50 riders from within the fresh produce industry trained for months leading up to the 200-mile ride, while fundraising for a personal goal of $3,100 to place a salad bar in their school district of choice. After a three-day ride from Napa to Monterey, Calif., Cindy Jewell of the California Giant Foundation announced that the event had raised over $165,000–$15,000 higher than what was raised in 2015.
"This was, by far, the best event we've had to-date and it will set a precedent for future Tour de Fresh rides," says Jewell, vice president of marketing for The California Giant Foundation. "It's always such a joy to witness the passion that these industry professionals bring to the event because it produces significant results, and in the end, kids win."
Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools, led by the United Fresh Start Foundation, has facilitated donations to more than 4,700 schools across the country in the last six years, providing enough salad bars to benefit more than three million students every day. Tour de Fresh's goal, in alignment with Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools, is to ensure that students nationwide have access to fresh fruits and vegetables in order to make healthier choices throughout the day.
Stemming from the successful signature event in July, Tour de Fresh is taking over Texas on Oct. 1 with its first-ever Tour de Fresh Texas local event, which seeks to raise $10,000 to fund at least three salad bars in local Dallas / Fort Worth schools. Participants in the local DFW community, as well as fresh produce industry leaders from across the country, will choose between a 68-mile (100K) or 20-mile ride, giving everyone from avid cyclists to local families the opportunity to participate.
"Frisco ISD applied for and received over 30 salad bars over the past several years, with our most recent donation coming from the 2016 Tour de Fresh event in July," says Debera Tredennick, director of child nutrition programs at Frisco ISD. "New USDA regulations are requiring students to take one fresh produce item with lunch, but our students WANT to add fruits and vegetables to their plates because of these salad bars—access is changing behavior right before our eyes and it's inspiring."
Registration is open to the public for $25, and participants are encouraged to raise at least $100 each to support the $10,000 total fundraising goal. Sponsorship opportunities are also available for a limited time with a variety of affordable options to support the event.
Tour de Fresh sponsors include: Snappy Salads, Birko, California Giant Berry Farms, Hort Americas, IFCO, Tessemae's, Tsamma, Church Brothers Farms, DMA Solutions, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Enza Zaden, Fresh Point, J & J Family of Farms, Mission, Sunripe Certified Brands, Tanimura & Antle, And Now U Know, Artic Apples, Blendtec, CHEP, Duda, EBX Logistics, Evolution Fresh, Sakata, Interfresh, iTrade Network, Lipman, Natural Delights, Pajaro Valley Fresh, ProAct, PMA, Rehrig Pacific Company, Renaissance Food Group, Specialty Produce, SunFed, United Fresh, Watsonville Coast Produce, Western Precooling, and The Wharf Marketplace.