In a unique partnership likely to be emulated in other states, vending machines in Rhode Island schools will have some healthful competition. The new machine is the result of a collaboration between Stonyfield Farm (Londonderry, N.H.); Kids First, a nutrition education organization; distributor United Natural Foods Inc. (Dayville, Conn.); Rhode Island school administration and high school students. The refrigerated machines offer organic yogurt, string cheese, dried fruit, soy nuts and pita chips, as well as other low-fat and low-sugar products. The foods meet guidelines set by Kids First, which called for minimal added sugars and fats, and significant (10% or more) amounts of at least one of the following: calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron or fiber.

Stonyfield is pursuing similar partnerships in several other states, including California, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.