AUSTIN, Texas (Oct. 13, 2010) — Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI) is pleased to announce that its shoppers donated more than $1.4 million after a seven-week fundraising campaign to improve school lunches through the Salad Bar Project.  As the nation celebrates National School Lunch Week (Oct. 10-16), it is clear that parents and advocates are ready for healthy items to be added to the menu. 

Whole Foods Market joined forces with Chef Ann Cooper’s non-profit, Food Family Farming Foundation (F3), to help bring fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins to school lunch programs through an online grant process. The generous donations from Whole Foods Market’s customers will fund 570 salad bars for schools across the country.

“The overwhelming support our shoppers have shown for the Salad Bar Project is heartwarming, just plain amazing,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO for Whole Foods Market.  “We nearly doubled the original fundraising goal, so it’s clear our customers share our passion for supporting more nutritious offerings in school lunchrooms across the country.”

Schools can apply for a grant for a free salad bar kit at  through Nov. 15, 2010. Applicants must participate in the National School Lunch Program, be located within a 50-mile radius of any Whole Foods Market and demonstrate a commitment to sustaining a healthy cafeteria salad bar for two school years., which provides tangible solutions for making healthier, fresh and “made-from-scratch” food available to schoolchildren across the country, will help support the initiative through online support tools.

 “We believe America has spoken loudly with their generous support. They want healthier food in all schools,” said Chef Ann Cooper. “It just makes common sense.  Salad bars not only provide fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins but help boost student performance in school while also benefitting their health,” said Cooper.

F3, the granting institution, will collect and approve school applications. Each school will need approval from its district superintendent, school principal and nutrition services director. Grant awards will be based on need, potential for impact, commitment to the program and potential for future viability when the grant period has ended. Grant recipients will be announced on Jan. 15.