The First U.S. School District to Begin Serving Only Organic, GMO-Free Meals

by DailyHealthPost

organic school lunch

Hail to the trailblazers!

No one would argue the importance of nutrition, especially for children. As their bodies develop, they need healthy foods to support all the changes they so quickly experience. There is no one meal more important than the other—they are all equally critical. For many school-aged children, most of their meals are provided by their schools and parents trust that those institutions are careful about their children’s diets. Enter Sausalito Marin City School District in California. In 2013, the environmental education non-profit organization Turning Green launched a pilot project called The Conscious Kitchen. Its guiding terms:

“Fresh. Local. Organic. Seasonal. Non-GMO [genetically-modified organism]. [FLOSN] These terms guide this groundbreaking program and define an unwavering commitment to the long term health and life outcomes of our children, prioritizing ethically sourced and organically grown food.” (1)

In 2015, The Conscious Kitchen (TCK) expanded to reach almost 500 students in 2 schools in the Sausalito Marin City school district, the first school district in the United States to embark on this type of program. In partnership with the Good Earth Natural Foods School Lunch Program, TCK now serves 16 schools in the county. In addition, the West Contra Costa Unified School District recently agreed to a year-long pilot program in 2 of its schools for the 2017/18 school year. (2)

What TCK offers for school lunch programs:

  • Serve fresh, local, organic, seasonal, non-GMO food
  • Purchase within USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) budget and exceed nutritional guidelines
  • Daily scratch-cooked meals from an on-site kitchen
  • Dedicated head chef and staff
  • Kitchens partner with local community chef
  • Partnerships with organic farmers and purveyors
  • Strong commitment to, and education around, zero waste
  • Broad-based community involvement
  • Leadership development through TCK Ambassadors Program
  • Food literacy through Garden and Nutrition Curriculum

So the TCK provides genuinely nutritious meals, cooked fresh on-site for the same cost as the frozen, processed, mass-produced institutional food served in other public schools. From Executive Chef Justin Everett:

“Most people don’t realize that GMOs are everywhere, especially in processed foods. By embracing fresh, local, organic, non-GMO food, this program successfully disrupts the cycle of unhealthy, pre-packaged, heat and serve meals that dominate school kitchens.” (3)

The short-term health effects of GMO are known. A whole body of research has found GMO implicated in a host of chronic and even life-threatening diseases. Long-term impacts have yet to be seen.

Share This Story on Facebook