Georgia youth have scored increased access to salad bars thanks to a contribution from the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation has announced it will donate 15 salad bars to Georgia schools in 2012, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CBS Atlanta and Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools.

Schools must submit applications by Feb. 15 to be considered for the first round of salad bar donations, said John Bare, vice president of the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation. The first round of awards will be made in March and the balance of the schools will be announced in September, Bare said.

“We’re doing this in two stages so the schools that are seeing the salad bars first in March can provide the assistance and training to schools that will adopt salad bars later,” he said.

Bare said the foundation is open to expanding the effort.

“We’re committed to doing at least 15, and I’m hoping to generate enough demand that we will go back and consider funding additional schools,” he said.

The foundation has approved $42,500 for the effort, and CBS Atlanta is partnering with the foundation to publicize the program.

About a dozen school systems have applied by Feb. 8 and some of those applications included requests for more than one school, he said.

Through the Let’s Move Salad Bars program the foundation will provide salad bars and training to foodservice staff.

Bare said the Falcons have been working to improve youth fitness since 2005.

“One of the best ways we can get kids to eat healthier is to make sure there is a variety of healthy, good-tasting food right there when kids are sitting down to lunch,” he said. “We believe in the approach the Centers for Disease Control has taken, which is to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools is an initiative of the Food Family Farming Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, United Fresh Produce Association Foundation and Whole Foods Markets. The program, supporting first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, aims to pay for 6,000 salad bars to schools by the end of 2013.