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 Legislation Could Make Maryland the First State to Set GHG Reduction Target for its Food Purchases

Senator Clarence Lam (D-Howard County) and Delegate Jim Gilchrist (D-Montgomery County) introduced first-of-its-kind state legislation this week to set a target of reducing emissions from the food the state and its public universities procure by 25% by 2030.

New scholarship program for school food and nutrition professionals announced

Plant-based food is an essential pillar in the environmental movement and Friends of the Earth is delighted to reach out to the educational food community to find worthy recipients of these generous scholarships...

California Senate Education Committee Approves Nation’s First Climate-Friendly Plant-Based School Lunch Program

For too long, our tax dollars have subsidized unhealthy, highly processed factory-farmed meat in school lunch. It’s encouraging to see support for healthier, climate-friendly plant-based alternatives...

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
Healthier school food is key to fighting COVID-19 and systemic racism
Healthier school food is key to fighting COVID-19 and systemic racism

Congress should mitigate the racial health disparities that leave Black people so vulnerable to COVID-19 by ensuring every student has access to nutritious school meals.

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!

Resources and climate-friendly recipes:
Staff training and Support:
Salad bars
Nutrition education
Resources See All
  • Organic, Plant-Forward, Scratch Cooked School Meals: A California Case Study
    Learn More
  • Scaling Up Healthy, Climate-Friendly School Food
    Learn More
  • Shrinking the Carbon and Water Footprint of School Food
    Learn More