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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. Video presentations and resources from the Fall 2018 Southern California Greening School Food Forum are available here and you can see the agenda for the May 2019, New York Greening School Food Forum here.
  • 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.
  • TAKE ACTION NOW to support California legislation that would incentivize plant-based school food!
Latest News See All
New Report Card Grades Maryland School Districts’ Commitment to Improving Nutrition and Ensuring Access to Safe Water in Schools

Friends of the Earth is excited to partner with Healthy School Food Maryland to encourage school districts to serve more healthy, plant-rich entrees. Emphasizing vegetables, fruits and plant-based proteins on school lunch menus will improve student health, as well as the health of our planet

California Assembly Approves Nation’s First Plant-Based School Lunch Program

In a first-ever push to support climate-friendly school food, the California Assembly today approved legislation to provide new state funding to reimburse K-12 public schools for the costs of expanding their plant-based food and beverage offerings.

Friends of the Earth and Tisch Food Center convene “Greening School Food” experts in northeast regional forum in Albany

Following New York City’s recent announcement to implement Meatless Mondays and slash red meat purchases by 50 percent in its school system, the event is designed to share best practices from across the northeast region for improving school menus for better health outcomes and reduced climate impacts. 

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:

Latest Blog Posts See All
Foodservice corporations should choose people over profits
Foodservice corporations should choose people over profits

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.

Climate-friendly menus can take a big bite out of climate change
Climate-friendly menus can take a big bite out of climate change

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!

The School Lunch Recipe for Climate Action
The School Lunch Recipe for Climate Action

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.

Resources and climate-friendly recipes:
Staff training and Support:
Salad bars
Nutrition education
Resources See All
  • Scaling Up Healthy, Climate-Friendly School Food
    Learn More
  • Shrinking the Carbon and Water Footprint of School Food
    Learn More