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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. 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.
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.

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 News See All
Landmark California Legislation Encourages Climate-Friendly, Plant-Based School 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.

Coalition announces landmark statewide legislation encouraging healthy, climate-friendly, plant-based school lunch options

This first-of-its-kind legislation will increase access to healthy and climate-friendly food for California’s six million kids who receive free and reduced price lunch. It will also help California meet its ambitious climate goals.

Friends of the Earth Applauds D.C. Council for Increasing Healthy, Sustainable Food Options in Schools

The Council of the District of Columbia voted unanimously today to increase healthy, plant-forward meal options for students. The legislation also formally adopts the Good Food Purchasing Program across D.C. public schools.

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