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California Food for California Kids Statewide Conference 2019

Creating Healthy and Sustainable School Communities

The Center for Ecoliteracy hosted more than 120 people from school districts and allied organizations across the state of California on June 27 and 28 at the Oakland Museum of California. The program explored ideas and innovations for every aspect of school food and education, including how students learn about food and how their choices can impact their health, the health of their communities, and the health of the environment. Conference attendees reported feeling more inspired and confident to advance Farm to School in their communities, bolstered most by the connections they made at the event.

The majority of participants identified school administrators as the gatekeepers to expanding Farm to School programs and saw the biggest opportunities to advance their work in cultivating relationships with those administrators. Additional feedback from the event encouraged the Center for Ecoliteracy and the broader Farm to School movement to ensure these efforts are inclusive and accessible for diverse communities, especially those most negatively impacted by inequalities in the food system, including diet-related disease. 

“The farm to school effort feels more manageable when I know there is so much support throughout the state.”

“The focus on school/district successes made me feel that Farm to School is actually possible.”

Workshop Sessions

Participants had the opportunity to attend two of the following workshop sessions, presented by more than 15 statewide leaders on a wide range of practical topics for implementing and expanding Farm to School in their own communities. Follow the download links below to see the presentations and resources from each session.

How school district waste reduction programs can be implemented across the school environment to enhance sustainability and foster student learning opportunities.

Nancy Deming, Sustainability Manager, Oakland Unified School District
Kyle Pogue, Environmental Program Manager, CalRecycle
Alexandra Rosado, Environmental Scientist, CalRecycle
Angelina Vergara, Program Manager, StopWaste

View the waste management presentation and resource

Take your school garden program to the next level with partnerships that can enable gardens to be successfully maintained and supported by broad members of the school community.

John Fisher, Director of Programs and Partnerships, Life Lab
Karen Luna, Director of Child Nutrition, Santa Clara Unified School District
Mim Michelove, CEO and President, Healthy Day Partners

View the school gardens presentation and resources

Access resources that incorporate food education into the school day, reinforce efforts to connect the classroom, garden, and cafeteria, and support students' understanding of where food comes from and how it reaches the table.

Kat Rosemond, Corps Member, Education Outside
Caitlin Joseph, Statewide Coordinator, California Food for California Kids®, Center for Ecoliteracy

View the food education presentation and resources

Strategies to transition your menus and develop recipes that children love, featuring fresh, California-grown fruits and vegetables.

Kerry Billner, Food and Nutrition Coordinator, Forward Food
Anna Mazzaro, Production Kitchen Manager, Escondido Union School District 
Dawn Stone, Nutrition Specialist, Buyer and Menu Planner, Escondido Union School District

View the menu development presentation and resources

Creative and effective strategies for enhancing students' dining experience and increasing participation in your program.

Vince Caguin, Director of Nutrition Services and Warehousing, Natomas Unified School District
April Mackill, Director of Child Nutrition, Auburn Union School District
Scott Soiseth, Director of Child Nutrition, Turlock Unified School District

View the dining experience presentation and resources

Multiple pathways to enhance procurement efforts with case studies from school districts that successfully utilize local, state, and federal resources and leverage partnerships to improve their procurement.

Scott Berndt, Farmer and Owner, Fox Farms
Dominic Machi, Director of Food Services, Mt. Diablo Unified School District
Ben Thomas, Farm to Market Program Director, Community Alliance with Family Farms

View the procurement presentation and resources

Good Food Showcase

Co-hosted with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, the Good Food Showcase featured 16 vendors displaying local and sustainable foods for use in school meals. Vendors offered samples of their products and spoke with food service directors and their teams about the potential for increased procurement of these good foods in their schools across the state. During the showcase, four school districts demonstrated their use of California-produced foods in their own meal programs, including plant-to-plate baking with the California Wheat Commission and Calistoga Unified School District; food education activities with local farmers from Fiery Ginger Farms; a colorful taco salad from Sierra Harvest's Tasting Days recipe book; and tacos with LeftCoast GrassFed beef and scratch-made salsa prepared by student chefs from Pacific Elementary School's Food Lab.


Bay Cities Produce
Steve Del Masso
Send an email

Beef to Institution Ranches: LeftCoast Grassfed, TomKat Ranch, Stemple Creek
Kathy Webster
Send an email

Community Grains
Leah Fessenden, Bob Klein
Send an email

Daylight Foods
Lanisha Adams, Paul Jennings
Send an email

E&H Farms
Jason Ellis
Send an email

Fairyella Ice Pops
Kimberli Harris
Send an email

Gold Star Foods
Stephanie Ewing
Send an email

HMC Farms
Stephanie Johnson
Send an email

Coleen Donnelly
Send an email

JSM Organics
Javier Zamora
Send an email

Le Boulanger
Jerome Dees
Send an email

Mandela Partners
Yuro Chavez
Send an email

Mary's Free Range Chicken
Ben Angulo
Send an email

Rue & Forsman Ranch
Andrew Brutlag, Michael Bosworth
Send an email

Silo Technologies
Elizabeth Gray
Learn more here
Send an email

The FruitGuys
Carol Stewart
Send an email

Continuing Education Units

If you are a School Nutrition Professional and are interested in receiving a certificate from the California Department of Education for Continuing Education Units (CEUs), the Center for Ecoliteracy can provide you with documentation for 11 CEU credit hours.
Email Leyla Marandi to request your CEU certificate

Our Thanks

California Food for California Kids is generously supported by TomKat Ranch, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Chilean Forests Preservation Fund, Panta Rhea Fund, Sustainable Futures Fund, Tides Foundation, and donors to the Center for Ecoliteracy.

Special thanks to conference sponsorships from Amalgamated Bank, California Wheat Commission, Clif Bar & Company, Gold Star Foods, Mary's Free Range Chicken, The California Endowment, The Humane Society of the United States, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), and World Centric®.