We swung by Whole Foods Market in Mt. Washington this morning for a few things, and my friendly cashier Alex asked if I knew about the Great American Salad Bar Project? It was news to me – – and I was so excited about it that I knew I had to share it with all of you!

In true Jamie-Oliver-Food-Revolution style, Whole Foods is aiming to establish salad bars in 300 schools across the US. Because Charm City Whole Foods patrons have been so generous, two area public schools are receiving salad bars and they almost have enough money to put one in a third public school. All of the money donated to your Baltimore-area Whole Foods toward the Great American Salad Bar project stays right in your neighborhood. What a fabulous cause!

Why salad bars? Here’s the rationale from the project website (couldn’t have said it better myself!):

Implementing a Salad Bar in your school is one of the fastest ways to create fresh food access to all students purchasing a reimbursable meal. In fact the “salad” can be much more than greens and fruit. By utilizing USDA Commodity brown box items like diced chicken, tuna, egg products and grain products the Salad Bar reinvents itself as a reimbursable meal. Using the bar to introduce children to food in their raw state and educate students palates by offering some special seasonal salads makes fast work of transforming your cafeteria into a classroom enjoyed by all every day.

Know of a local school where students could really benefit from a salad bar? (Who doesn’t?) Any public school within a 50 mile radius of a Whole Foods store can apply for a grant to receive a salad bar. The online application opened on September 1 and closes on November 1. A school administrator needs to complete the application – – so get the word out!

Whole Foods, through the generosity of their customers, has already raised $1.1 million, and their goal is $1.25 million. We’ve got 11 days left folks — can we help them make their goal?

You can donate at the checkout counter of your local Whole Foods, or online. Give to the Mt. Washington Whole Food’s drive here.