Climate-Friendly School Food
As a sector that serves over 7 billion meals annually, U.S. public schools have a profound impact and opportunity to improve the health of students and the environment for generations to come. However, public schools face significant challenges to feeding kids healthy, delicious and environmentally friendly food on extremely tight budgets.
To address these challenges, Friends of the Earth’s Climate-Friendly School Food Campaign:
- Convenes regional, healthy, climate-friendly school forums that bring together school nutrition service and sustainability staff, NGOs and government to share best practices, resources and strategies for climate-friendly foodservice. Upcoming forums: Southern California Greening School Food Forum (October 1, 2018) and New York, March 2019.
- Promotes practical tools, strategies and policy reforms. See our groundbreaking reports: Shrinking the Carbon and Water Footprint of School Food and Scaling-Up Climate-Friendly Foodservice, as well as the resources below
- Provides marketing tools, carbon footprinting analysis and infographics in targeted districts to demonstrate the carbon reduction benefits of plant-forward menus and educate and inspire students, parents, food service staff, and administrators to support climate-friendly food shifts. Contact us for more information.
- Builds collaboration among local, national and regional organizations to work on systematic policy and institutional shifts to support climate-friendly school food. Join us!
- Advocates for and advances policies at the federal and district levels that make it easier for K-12 school food service to serve more plant-forward meals. See new toolkit for advocates.
Aramark, Sodexo, and Compass group often have exclusive contracts with “Big Food” corporations that systematically lock out smaller, more sustainable producers, fair trade companies, and local farmers, ranchers, and fishers—especially those who have been disenfranchised.
Livestock production accounts for about 15 percent of global GHG emissions — more than the tailpipe emissions from all the planes, trains, cars and trucks in the world combined!
As California moves to slash greenhouse gases dramatically by 2030, and schools in San Francisco and elsewhere look to reduce their carbon emissions, a key ingredient is missing from the conversation: meat.
Friends of the Earth webinars and presentations:
- Webinar on Oakland Unified’s Healthy, Climate Friendly Food Shifts, hosted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
- Chef Ann Foundation webinar, highlighting More Plants Please! Initiative
- Friends of the Earth slide presentations from Northwest Forum on Healthy, Climate-Friendly Foodservice
- Interview with Kari Hamerschlag, Deputy Director of Food & Agriculture, during the Healthy School Food Summit:
New York City is strengthening its climate leadership by acknowledging the importance of slashing consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions associated with factory farmed meat. Eliminating processed meat and cutting red meat purchases will pay dividends for the health of future generations and the planet.
The California Assembly Education Committee has approved legislation incentivizing K-12 public schools across the state to offer healthier, climate-friendly lunch options.
With millions of pounds of animal foods served each year, this bill will help California’s public schools reduce their carbon footprint while serving kids healthier food.
- Civil Eats Article: Less Meat, Better Food, Happier Kids: Oakland Unified Reinvents its School Lunch
- Yes Magazine: School District Cuts Carbon Footprint and Saves Money
- Treehugger: What happens when a school district reduces meat and dairy consumption?
- The Lunch Tray: School meals that are healthy for kids – and the environment
- Ecowatch: Farm to School Program Saves Big Bucks, Slashes Carbon Footprint at 100 Oakland Schools
Resources and climate-friendly recipes:
- Recipes featured in Our Scaling Up Climate-Friendly School Food report (Google Drive)
- Meatless Mondays K-12 toolkit and School food recipe book
- Forward Food’s compliant Recipes and Resources
- Chef Ann Foundation, Plant Forward recipes
- Menus of Change
- Lean and Green Kids
- Coalition for Healthy School Foods compliant recipes
- Vegetarian Resource Group Recipes
- USDA what’s cooking? recipes (for home and school)
- Plant based products available for K-12 created by Forward Food (here is link: Forward Food list)
Staff training and Support:
- Plant-forward Culinary Training from Forward Food (over 65 districts have participated)
- Humane Society presentation from Northwest Regional Greening School Food Forum
- Center for Ecoliteracy, Making the Case – why scratch, why farm-to-school?
- Chef Ann Foundation, School Food Institute – comprehensive staff training guide
- helpful advice and resources for climate-friendly foods on California Department of Education’s website.
- California Department of Food and Ag. Specialty Crop Block Grant
- USDA Dietetic Internship Program
- Golden Gate Dietetic Interns (California specific)
- USDA Community Food Systems Grants (farm-to-school, staff training) (SBUSD, OUSD)