Community Voices: Rethinking School Lunch in Oakland & California

The Case for School Lunch Screen Shot

By Zenobia Barlow, Center for Ecological Literacy

For the last 5 years, the Center for Ecological Literacy has directed a $40M Rethinking School Lunch Oakland project with Oakland Schools, an urban district with 100 campuses and 40,000 students, serving 8 million meals a year.

We are providing technical assistance, coaching, professional development, project management in a complex effort leading to the opening in Autumn 2017 of a new, green, state-of-the-art Central Kitchen, Instructional Farm, and Education Center—with field trips and associated Linked Learning and career pathway education programs.

In the presidential election in 2012, I received a crash course in municipal politics from a political veteran campaign strategist, and co-chaired a $475M bond measure for the school district that taxpayers approved by an unprecedented 84%, which netted the budget for the Rethinking School Lunch Oakland effort.

We are also working on California Food for California Kids™ and in October 2015 will launch California Thursdays™, our “bite-sized implementation strategy” for serving California-grown food, a collaboration between CEL and 15 school districts which serve more than 190M school meals annually, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco, Elk Grove, Turlock, and others.

Want to learn more and take part? Please watch and share the newest addition to our suite of resources, an animated video called “Making the Case for Healthy, Freshly-Prepared School Meals.”  Take a look. It’s fun and only takes 2 minutes.

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