California Thursdays is a collaboration between the Center for Ecoliteracy and participating school districts to serve healthy, freshly prepared school meals featuring California-grown foods.
The program, part of the Center’s California Food for California Kids® initiative, was developed and piloted in partnership with the Oakland Unified School District during the 2013–14 school year. It expanded to 15 districts in 2014 and to 42 districts, which together serve more than 250 million meals a year, in 2015. The network will expand again with the addition of new districts in spring 2016.Visit the California Thursdays website to learn more
Participants in the program understand the value of offering appealing school meals that support student health and academic achievement, contribute to local economies, protect the environment, and help kids learn where their food comes from.
The goal of serving one freshly prepared meal per week is an achievable step. At the same time, it requires changes throughout nutrition services operations, consistent with CEL’s Rethinking School Lunch planning framework, which identifies 10 related pathways for food service reform. To assist adopters of the California Thursdays program, the Center for Ecoliteracy has created compelling, relevant marketing and communications materials and is consulting with participants as they launch their programs.
The network of participating districts in 2014–15 includes Albany City Unified, Alvord Unified, Antioch Unified, Brentwood Union, Calaveras Unified, Chico Unified, Coachella Valley Unified, Conejo Valley Unified, Davis Joint Unified, Del Norte County Unified, Elk Grove Unified, Fallbrook Union Elementary, Fontana Unified, Hemet Unified, La Honda–Pescadero Unified, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Lodi Unified, Los Angeles Unified, Manteca Unified, Millbrae Elementary, Monterey Peninsula Unified, Mt. Diablo Unified, Napa Valley Unified, Natomas Unified, Oak Park Unified, Oakland Unified, Oakley Union Elementary, Oceanside Unified, Pacific Elementary, Pittsburg Unified, Ravenswood City Elementary, Riverside Unified, Sacramento City Unified, San Diego Unified, San Francisco Unified, Santa Rosa City Schools, Sonoma Valley Unified, Sweetwater Union High, Tracy Unified, Turlock Unified, Upland Unified, and Woodland Joint Unified.
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