Farmers' Market

Farmers' Market Salad Bar Program

On September 17, 1997, the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, Food and Nutrition Services Department launched its first Farmers’ Market Salad Bar at McKinley Elementary School as part of the school’s regular lunch program. Presently Farmers’ Market Salads are offered in all of our schools as an alternative to the hot lunch. Salad Bar is chosen by one third of the students most days.

The Farmers’ Market Salad Bar offers fresh, seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables purchased directly from farmers at the Wednesday and Saturday Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets. Orders are placed in advance with farmers and produce is packed and ready to be picked up by a Food and Nutrition Services Driver before the market even opens.

The salad bar is prepared fresh daily by a Salad Bar coordinator at each school site. The FMSB adheres to the National School Lunch Program guidelines by offering all five food groups – fruits, vegetables, bread/ bread alternate, meat/meat alternate and milk.

This unique school lunch is no longer just a salad bar it has become a sustainable Program. Under the umbrella of the Farmers’ Market Salad Bar has sprung many nutrition education programs including school gardens, cooking in the classroom and tours to the Farmers’ Market.

The Farmers’ Market Salad Bar has been awarded the Restaurant Hospitality’s Best Kids Menu in America and the California School Boards Association’s Golden Bell Award. It has also become a highly regarded Farm to School Model for schools not only in the United States but in other countries as well.