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Media Contacts:

Fayetteville Public Schools: Alan Wilbourn | 479-435-1416 | alan.wilbourn@g.fayar.net
Life Time: Jordan Titus | 952-229-7179| jtitus@lt.life

For Immediate Release: October 1, 2021

Fayetteville Public Schools Receives $80,000 Grant from LifeTime Foundation to Support Improved School Food

The three-year relationship includes support from the Life Time Foundation to conduct food label review, operational support, and financial assistance for equipment purchasing

Fayetteville, Ark. —Fayetteville Public Schools has been awarded $80,000 in grants over the next three years from the Life Time Foundation to help improve the nutritional quality of school meals by eliminating ultra-processed foods and accelerate scratch and speed-scratch cooking practices through the support of an additional registered dietitian and chef specializing in school food operations.

The Life Time Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works with more than 35 school districts across the nation to eliminate foods containing highly processed and artificial foods. This grant is the Foundation’s first support of a school district in Arkansas.

“We are honored to partner with Life Time Foundation for the next three years to systematically review and improve our program’s ingredient and recipe quality, operations and equipment, marketing, and professional development,” said Ally Mrachek, MS RD Child Nutrition Director at Fayetteville Public Schools. “We’re making great progress in ensuring our kids are served healthy and good food and this financial support and expertise from the Life Time Foundation will ensure we make meaningful progress toward our long-term goal of more equitable access to tasty and scratch-prepared school meals.”

The funds will pay for staff training and equipment to improve meal program participation, program access, cultural inclusivity, and support student health and education. Meals and products recommended for the program will be free of undesirable ingredients, which are often found in highly processed foods, including:

● Trans fats and hydrogenated oils

● High-fructose corn syrup

● Hormones and antibiotics

● Processed and artificial sweeteners

● Artificial colors and flavors

● Artificial preservatives

● Bleached flour

Quick Reference Guide for Clean Label Ingredients

Fifty-five percent of FPS nutrition ingredients already meet the Lifetime Foundation standards.

“We’re thrilled that our work, affecting healthy change for kids across the nation, now includes those in Fayetteville”, said Kimo Seymour, Executive Director of Life Time Foundation. “We understand that students who eat foods free of highly processed ingredients are able to remain more alert and better retain knowledge; given that the district served an impressive 1,129,882 meals in the 2020-2021 school year, our work will have an enormous impact.”

Already, the funds have allowed the district to purchase electric knife sharpeners, produce slicers, and launch a new menu viewing software to help parents and students be more aware of the meal plans and to help increase access and participation in them.

About Life Time Foundation® 

As a public charity created by Life Time, the Life Time Foundation is committed to helping children grow up strong, smart, and loved. We believe that for children to reach their full potential, they must have access to nourishing meals. We partner with schools to eliminate foods containing highly processed and artificial foods in favor of wholesome, real food alternatives. As of August 2021, the Life Time Foundation partners with 35 school districts, which impacts 3,634 schools and 256 million meals served to 1.7 million students annually. 100% of every dollar donated to the Life Time Foundation directly supports its mission because all administrative costs are contributed by Life Time, Inc. For more information, visit www.ltfoundation.org.

In addition to its relationship with Fayetteville Public Schools, Life Time is growing its presence in Northwest Arkansas with the company’s event production division hosting the inaugural Big Sugar Gravel off-road cycling race in Bentonville on October 23 of this year, coinciding with the Outerbike cycling event. To learn more about the Life Time Foundation and its efforts to support school food visit www.ltfoundation.org. For more information about becoming a school partner email foundation@ltfoundation.org or call 952.229.7226.

About Fayetteville Public Schools:

Fayetteville School District #1, also known as Fayetteville Public Schools, was founded in 1871 as the first chartered public school district in Arkansas. Consisting of one traditional high school, one alternative learning high school, two junior highs, two middle schools, one combined elementary/middle school, eight elementary schools, and Fayetteville Virtual Academy, the first virtual academy by a public school district in Arkansas, Fayetteville Public Schools serves over 10,000 students every day. The district has a long and rich tradition of excellence in academics, fine arts, community service, technology, career, and technical education and athletics.