By: Meggan Rush
Dairy Council of California, a leader in nutrition education and advocacy, collaborated with the Santa Barbara County School Wellness Summit to award three community grants totaling $15,000 through the Let’s Eat Healthy initiative to advance the health and well-being of schools and communities in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
Vista Del Mar Union School District, San Miguel Joint Union School District and Orcutt Union School District each received a $5,000 grant for the 2023-2024 school year. Grants will advance equitable access to science-based nutrition education, enhance food and agricultural literacy that encompasses the role of dairy in local sustainable food systems, and support nutrition security by increasing access to healthy, wholesome foods, including milk and dairy foods. Launched by Dairy Council of California, the Let’s Eat Healthy initiative brings together community leaders and stakeholders with expertise in education, school foodservice, public health, health care and agriculture, inviting these change-makers to elevate the health of children and families through the pursuit of lifelong healthy eating habits.
“Vista looks forward to using the Let's Eat Healthy grant funds to create a Nutrition Ambassador program so we can increase student awareness of healthy eating habits and how to create healthy meals. We look forward to our Ambassadors sharing their knowledge with their families so that healthy eating can extend beyond the school and into their homes,” states Bree Valla, superintendent/principal at Vista Del Mar Union School District.
Lauren Thomas, food services director at San Miguel Joint Union School District, explains how the grant will have a positive impact on her school community. “This grant will support and sustain our efforts at San Miguel Joint Union School District to cultivate a culture of wellness across the school community. Specifically, it will support Nutrition Spirit Week where students and staff can celebrate and highlight the importance of wellness at school through nutrition education activities, hands-on gardening and artwork, as well as community cooking events.”
The Let’s Eat Healthy Community Grants were awarded during the 10th annual Santa Barbara County School Wellness Summit and will be implemented by the end of the school year.
About Dairy Council of California
Dairy Council of California is a nutrition organization working together with champions to elevate the health of children and communities through lifelong healthy eating patterns. Focusing on education, advocacy, dairy ag literacy and collaboration, Dairy Council of California advances the health benefits of milk and dairy foods as part of the solution to achieving nutrition security and sustainable food systems. Learn more at HealthyEating.org.
About the Santa Barbara County School Wellness Summit
Since 2014, the annual School Wellness Summit is the main forum to bring together school communities along California’s central coast to collaborate and engage in professional development opportunities that focus on improving the health and wellness of the entire school community, and especially students, to support them in their journey to academic achievement and leading healthy and productive lives. The School Wellness Summit highlights presentations on the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child, as well as the Local School Wellness Policy. Learn more at schoolwellnesssummit.org.
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