Get A Salad Bar

Tailored just for you – resources and tools for getting a salad bar grant.


Who should fill out the application?

The food services director for your district is the required contact person for the application. Exceptions will be made if your district or school:

  1. uses a contract management company,
  2. is a charter or independent private school district,
  3. is not connected to a district.

In these cases, the person who oversees your meal program and NSLP reporting would be the “Applicant Contact.”

What is needed to complete an application?

Please visit our Get a Salad Bar section and Sample Application (PDF) before beginning the simple application process. Examples of the required information include:

  • District enrollment numbers.
  • Free and reduced (F/R) participation percentage.
  • Answers to multiple choice questions about your school lunch program and how your school will support a salad bar program throughout the school year.
  • Contact information for the food services director.
  • School district shipping address.
  • Superintendent contact information and district address.

NOTE: Approval and support from district administrators, as well as district readiness, are essential to the grant application. Verification and signature forms must be signed by both the food services director and the superintendent and be returned to us before your application can be approved.

How long will it take to receive a salad bar after our application has been approved?

If you receive notice that your application has been approved, your district will be listed on our Donate a Salad Bar page. It can take up to 12 months for your salad bar(s) to be fully funded depending on the number of schools waiting in the queue as well as the amount of direct donations made to your district. You may accelerate your funding through Supplemental Fundraising.

Once you receive notice that your district has been fully funded, your salad bar(s) should arrive in approximately 4-6 weeks. We ship salad bars year-round.

How can my school control the costs of offering a salad bar?

A school lunch salad bar can be as simple or elaborate as your school chooses. Work with your vendors to determine the volume of product that you plan to purchase in order to gain more competitive pricing. Focusing your choices on in-season foods, especially fruits, is another valuable cost-saving solution. Likewise, using USDA Foods during the winter—like diced chicken, cheese, beans, frozen corn, and peas—is a helpful method for controlling salad bar costs. More information on how to Implement Your Salad Bar is available on The Lunch Box, an online resource that provides useful tools for school food change.

How much will it cost to offer a salad bar every day as part of our school food menu?

A salad bar can be surprisingly inexpensive to operate. A full explanation on how to Implement Your Salad Bar, including salad bar costs, is available on The Lunch Box, an online resource that provides useful tools for school food change. The cost of maintaining a salad bar varies depending on several factors:

  1. the number of fruit, vegetable, whole grain, and protein choices offered on your salad bar,
  2. where you source your food, and
  3. how well the food is managed both during preparation and in the maintenance of the salad bar during daily service.

It is important to evaluate how the salad bar will be integrated into the overall school lunch menu since its choices can often replace other costs in your current school meal program.

I work for a school district that would like to apply for multiple salad bars at one time. Is that possible?

Yes. Districts can apply for multiple salad bar packages at once. Please note that only one SB2S salad bar grant is allowed per school site. Districts that have been approved for multiple salad bars may receive an initial notice that funds have become available for some, but not all, of their salad bars; these will be shipped in approximately 4-6 weeks. The remainder of the salad bars will ship once they become fully funded.

My school is private, not public. Can we still apply for the SB2S grant?

Any school, public or private, participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is eligible to apply for the grant. Schools that do not participate in NSLP are encouraged to take advantage of the free resources throughout this site and at The Lunch Box to assist you in planning and implementing a salad bar in your school.

What is Salad Bars to Schools?

Salad Bars to Schools (SB2S) launched in 2010 with the mission of donating salad bars to U.S. schools so that every child has daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This healthy school lunch initiative was founded by the Chef Ann Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, United Fresh Produce Association Foundation, and Whole Foods Market in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative.

The Challenge

While there is growing awareness of the health and educational benefits that salad bars provide to kids, many school districts are unable to afford the basic equipment needed to adopt this strategy. SB2S is committed to helping schools make this positive change.

Learn more about how to Get a Salad Bar >

Do we have to raise money for our salad bar(s)?

No. You may perform Supplementary Fundraising to accelerate the funding of your salad bar(s), but you are not required to do this. Once your application has been approved, your district will automatically be included on our Donate a Salad Bar page where your supporters can make direct donations to your district online. Physical checks* can be mailed to us at:

Salad Bars to Schools
5485 Conestoga Court, Ste 110F
Boulder, Colorado 80301

*Please be sure to include the name of the district or independent school on the memo line of all checks.

If we are awarded a salad bar, what will we receive?

One full salad bar grant includes:

  • 1 portable 72-inch, 5-well insulated salad bar
  • 2 tray slides
  • 5 pan chillers
  • Divider bars
  • 2 – 4” deep full pans with covers
  • 4 – 4” deep half pans with covers
  • 12 – 4” deep quarter pans with covers
  • 5 buffet chilling pads
  • 16 serving tongs
  • (2) free enrollments for the School Food Institute’s Salad Bars in Schools Course.

If you have a specific question that isn’t answered in our FAQs, you may want to visit our Guidelines page or email us at with the words “GRANT QUESTION” in the subject line.

Are electric salad bars (mechanically cooled) available as part of the program? Our local health authority requires these in our schools.

Electric salad bars may be granted for in areas where required by local health authorities. However, these bars are significantly more expensive than insulated salad bars. Cambro, our salad bar equipment provider, has performed Temperature Retention Tests (PDF) that have proven the insulated bar’s capacity to hold temperatures below 41 degrees for 4 hours. We recommend that districts present this documentation along with your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to your local health authority before assuming that an electric bar will be the only acceptable option.

Still interested in an electric bar? Email us at with the words “MAY NEED ELECTRIC” in the subject line. Please include your name, the name of your school or district, and contact phone number.

When should we take the online Salad Bars in Schools Course?

When should we take the online Salad Bars in Schools Course?

Answer: While all applicants will receive enrollment for (2) individuals, we ask that at least one person in your food service departments take the course anytime after your application is approved and prior to receiving your salad bars. It can take up to a year to receive your salad bar(s) so this is a great time to take the course and prepare for your salad bar(s)!