SOURCE: Dole Food Company

Dole Food Company

May 03, 2011 09:00 ET

Salad Bar Donation to New Orleans' Lafayette Academy Represents a Homecoming for Dole Food Company

World's Largest Provider of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Traces Its Roots to New Orleans in 1899

NEW ORLEANS, LA--(Marketwire - May 3, 2011) - Dole Food Company, which traces its fresh fruit business to New Orleans in 1899, has donated a salad bar to Lafayette Academy Charter School in New Orleans as part of the United Fresh Produce Association Foundation's commitment to New Orleans school children.

Dole's gift is part of an overall donation of salad bars to 33 New Orleans schools through the Foundation, which is a founding partner of Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools, an initiative that works to support First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation

Serving 780 students in pre-kindergarten through 7th grade, Lafayette Academy is the largest elementary school in New Orleans. Enrollment in the public charter institution, located in the Carrollton neighborhood, is free and open to all New Orleans students. The school also offers bus service from all parts of the city, including New Orleans East.

The 33 salad bars will help New Orleans schools serve more fresh fruits and vegetables at lunch and benefit thousands of students every day. New Orleans schools are committed to increasing student's fruits and vegetables consumption and serving healthier school meals. Dole is proud to join with other produce industry leaders and United Fresh in helping New Orleans schools improve students eating habits and health.

As part of Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools, Dole has committed to donating salad bars to 16 schools in California, North Carolina, Louisiana, New York and Washington, D.C. Dole's participation is part of its ongoing mission to help reverse childhood obesity trends, increase the nutritional health of Americans and reverse a number of negative health trends including the growth of poor diet and inactivity as the leading cause of preventable death.

"The donation of a salad bar to Lafayette Academy is a homecoming of sorts for Dole Food Company," explained Bob Post, the long-time New Orleans resident and former Dole Fresh Fruit employee who helped manage Dole's banana operations in New Orleans for more than 40 years. "The world's top-selling DOLE® Banana traces its roots to Sicilian-born Joseph Vaccaro, who came to New Orleans in 1899 to start importing bananas and fresh fruit from South America."

Vaccaro recruited his brothers, sister and brother-in-law, Salvador D'Antoni, to grow the family operation which eventually became Standard Fruit Company. The company was acquired by the Castle & Cooke Corporation and later renamed Dole Food Company.

New Orleans is a Let's Move! City and local health officials and food policy advocates have recommended salad bars to enable schools to serve healthier meals with more fresh foods. New Orleans is hosting the United Fresh Produce Association 2011 convention, May 2-5, 2011, with 5,000 attendees representing the entire produce industry.

The Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative has a goal of donating salad bars to 6,000 schools nationwide within the next three years. Schools may apply for a salad bar through this initiative by posting an application on www.SaladBars2Schools.org.

About Dole Foods
Dole, with 2010 net revenues of $6.9 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.

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