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Free downloadable resources for families, food service professionals, and educators. The collection includes lessons, guides, recipes, essays, tips, studies, tools, and more.


For Food Service Professionals

School Food Innovator Series

Nov. 30: Spotlight on Farm to School

Fresh from California Posters

Download posters featuring California farmers and produce to display in your cafeteria.

student with lunch tray

Success with School Meals for All

A guide for school district administrators on navigating successful implementation of the new School Meals for All policy.

Plant-Forward School Meal Resources

Recipes, culinary techniques, and student engagement materials for success in crafting plant-forward school meals.

Plant-Forward Culinary Training

Empower your staff to prepare plant-forward dishes that students love with a virtual culinary training this September.

Ingredient Guide for Better School Food Purchasing

A resource for school food leaders committed to improving the overall quality, nutritional value, and safety of school food.

COVID-19 Menu Planning Strategies

A practical guide with flexible strategies for your school menus to adapt to the changing demands of COVID-19 meal service.

COVID-19 Emergency Meal Service Resources

COVID-19 resources, toolkits, and tip sheets that support school nutrition programs during emergency meal service.

COVID-19 Return to School Planning Resources

COVID-19 planning templates, reopening protocols, and additional resources that support school nutrtition programs in return to school planning efforts.

Community of Practice Calls on Emergency Food Service

This free series offers an opportunity for districts to connect with one another, share ideas, and build connections with partners across the state.

5 Ways to Increase Participation with Customizable Menu Options

Providing customizable menu options to increase lunch participation.

Preparing California-Grown School Meals: A Professional Development Guide

A guide to engaging foodservice staff and inspiring the confidence to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables in school meal programs.

Rethinking School Lunch Guide

Rethinking School Lunch Guide

A planning framework for improving school food, supporting sustainable food systems, and teaching and integrating curriculum around food issues.

Celebrating California Food for California Kids

A video honoring California's abundance, and supporting children's health, education, and the state's economy. 

21 School Meals Featuring California Foods

Scaled and tested recipes for reimbursable school meals featuring fresh ingredients. 

Making the Case for Healthy, Freshly Prepared School Meals

Check out our tools for demonstrating the academic, health, environmental, and financial benefits of high-quality, appealing school meals.

Cooking with California Food in K-12 Schools

Our acclaimed cookbook and professional development guide by award-winning authors Georgeanne Brennan and Ann M. Evans.

School-Community Kitchens

A new partnership for supporting health, academic achievement, and community vitality.

California Tastes Amazing

Recipes, based on popular school meals, that parents and children can cook together at home.

Rethinking School Lunch Oakland Feasibility Study

A roadmap for comprehensive reform of nutrition services.

Wellness Policy Guide

A guide to help you review, revise, and update your local wellness policy.

Photographing School Food: A Practical Guide to Making California School Meals Look Great

Your food deserves great photography. Our practical guide helps you improve the visual appeal of all your school meals.

Jennifer Orosco, Natomas Unified School District

California Food for California Kids Events and Resources

Participate in our new offerings for the 2021-22 school year designed to support your school meal program.

Build Regional Support

Collaborate with others to increase capacity and reach a broader audience.

Farm to Summer Planning Guide

A guide for programs that support local communities and celebrate California’s agricultural abundance when school is not in session.

Offer Enriching Experiences

Provide meaningful educational experiences and engaging activities.

Design Compelling Marketing

Use clear, targeted messaging to drive increased participation.

Conduct Community Outreach

Connect with community members to spread the word about your program.

Plan a Farm to Summer Menu

Take advantage of seasonal savings on healthy and delicious produce.

What is a California Thursdays Meal?

What is a California Thursdays Meal?

Try this interactive tool and see.

5 Food Service Staff Innovators Serving Freshly-Prepared Meals with Care

Celebrating five food service professionals and how they strive to do more for their students.

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For Educators

Nourishing Students: Enrichment Activities for Grades K-5

Enrichment activities engage students in exploring the bounty of California-grown fruits and vegetables in after-school, out-of-school, and summer programs.

Fruits and Vegetables: Coloring Pages

Fun and educational coloring pages with fruits and vegetables.

Abundant California Educational Resources

Everything we eat has a story to tell. The Abundant California suite teaches students in grades 3–5 about California crops and introduces them to the food system that sustains us all.

Understanding Food and Climate Change: An Interactive Guide

An interactive guide for educators, students, and advocates that explores how food systems and our changing climate interact, and how personal choices can make a difference.

Understanding Food and Climate Change: A Systems Perspective

Exploring the links between food systems and our changing climate from a systems thinking perspective.

Food and Culture Project: The World's Flavor Profiles

Students in grades 3-5 examine the food traditions that form the basis of different cuisines around the world. 

Nourishing Students: Posters

Connecting children with nature and nutritious California-grown fruits and vegetables.

Food and Culture Project: The Migration of Food

Lesson for grades 6-8: Students research the origin and migration of ingredients from five different regions of the world.

Make a Mini Greenhouse from a CD Case

Use a recycled CD case to make a mini greenhouse and observe seedlings as they develop. 

Starting with Soil

An iPad app from the Center for Ecoliteracy and Whole Kids Foundation offers a playful, visually rich way to help kids understand that soil is a living system full of fascinating relationships.

The Tomato Salsa Challenge

Students in grades 3-5 learn surprising facts about California tomatoes and extend their learning through comparison tasting and a hands-on tomato salsa challenge.

School Lunch Survey

Lesson for grades 6-8: Students learn about conducting surveys and presenting recommendations for improving their district's meals. 

Savoring California: A Comparative Tasting of California Fruits and Vegetables

Lesson for grades 3–5: Students sample different fruit or vegetable varieties, learn about seasons, microclimates, and growing requirements.

Oranges: A Taste of California Sunshine

Students in grades 3-5 read about Eliza Tibbets, a California food pioneer, and extend their learning through observation and comparing the tastes of navel oranges to other citruses. 

Investigating Cabbage Traditions

Students in grades 3-5 examine the cultural importance of cabbages, conduct a comparison tasting of varieties grown in California, and explore related family food traditions.

Students Identify Interactions in the Garden

A video showing how third-graders explore interactions among diverse plants and animals in their school garden. 

Big Ideas: A New Alignment with Academic Standards

Created in partnership with National Geographic, with examples of learning experiences that link food, culture, health, and the environment.

Linking Food, Culture, Health, and the Environment

Explore an enriched school environment through this visual guide.

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For Families

5 Things Families Can Do

Five things you can do to learn about school meals.

Make a Mini Greenhouse at Home from a CD case

Use a recycled CD case at home to make a mini greenhouse and observe seedlings as they develop. 

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