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Rethinking School Lunch

Rethinking School Lunch
Number of meals served annually by Oakland Unified

Rethinking School Lunch

In addition to statewide and regional programs, the Center for Ecoliteracy develops and facilitates immersive school food program reform efforts at the district level using the Rethinking School Lunch planning framework.


Rethinking School Lunch

Rethinking School Lunch Oakland

In partnership with Oakland Unified School District, the Center for Ecoliteracy has been engaged in a multi-year initiative to improve student health, well-being, and academic outcomes. Rethinking School Lunch Oakland seeks to dramatically transform nutrition services by shifting from a predominantly heat-and-serve model to freshly prepared meals and by connecting nutrition, education, and community at schools across the district.

Rethinking School Lunch Oakland launched in 2010, when the Center for Ecoliteracy conducted a comprehensive Rethinking School Lunch Oakland Feasibility Study whose final report provided a detailed roadmap for districtwide school food reform. The recommendations were incorporated into a Nutrition Services Master Plan, which was unanimously adopted by the Board of Education as part of its 2012 Facilities Master Plan. Oakland voters approved a $475M bond measure in November 2012 with $40M for Rethinking School Lunch Oakland facilities improvements, including a new Central Kitchen, Instructional Farm, and Education Center.

The California Thursdays program emerged from the Rethinking School Lunch Oakland partnership in 2013. It was developed as an achievable first step—a “bite-sized” implementation program—to support the shift to freshly prepared meals. 

There’s nothing more satisfying and rewarding than seeing a bold vision come to fruition. Rethinking School Lunch Oakland is the embodiment of what it means to truly serve the whole child. With the Central Kitchen, Education Center, and Instructional Farm complex completed, we can begin to provide fresh meals to students and contribute to the health of our communities and the planet.
Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell
Rethinking School Lunch