Natural Solutions Radio header image

California School District is 1st in the U.S. to Serve Organic, GMO-Free Meals

Shouldn’t every district be doing this?

In an effort to feed children the best quality food possible while promoting environmental health, a Bay Area school district has become the first in the nation to serve 100% organic meals to students.

Sausalito Marin City School District, just north of San Francisco, has ditched fried, greasy foods for healthy ones that are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) provided by Conscious Kitchen. The program was created by Turning Green, a nonprofit dedicated to “a systemic transformation of school dining, to the health and wellness of our children, and to a thriving future for our planet.” [1]

“FLOSN” is the foundation of Conscious Kitchen – Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal, Non-GMO.

The organic food is being served to 500 students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy and the Willow Academy in Sausalito.

“Students everywhere are vulnerable to pesticide residues and unsafe environmental toxins,” says Judi Shils, Turning Green’s founder. “Not only does this program far exceed USDA nutritional standards, but it ties the health of our children to the health of our planet. It’s the first program to say that fundamentally, you cannot have one without the other.” [2]

Conscious Kitchen has been serving up all-natural, healthy lunches at Bayside since 2013, and Shils says it has positively impacted school attendance and reduced disciplinary issues.

“That’s how we can begin to start making bodies healthy and minds healthy,” she explains.

The nonprofit says the students won’t just be receiving platefuls of nutritious food, they’ll also learn about what makes those meals so nutritious, and they’ll learn how to garden in the hopes that what they learn in school will carry on into their adult lives.

The program will also teach students about GMOs, which are found in 80% of the products found on store shelves.

The Edible Schoolyard Project, a nutritional nonprofit based in Berkeley, says that while it’s vital to feed children organic, nutritious food, it’s just as important to teach them about what they’re eating.

“Schools that incorporate an integrated approach to edible education—combining local, seasonal food procurement strategies with hands-on lessons taught in the classroom, kitchen, and garden—are far more likely to sustain healthy school meal initiatives,” says Liza Siegler, the organization’s head of partnerships and engagement. [3]

These California kids will walk out of elementary school with more knowledge concerning the dangers of GMOs and the value of organic food than the average adult walking down the street.

“Most people don’t realize that GMOs are everywhere, especially in processed foods,” Justin Everett, executive chef at Cavallo Point Lodge, who serves as the consulting chef for The Conscious Kitchen, tells EcoWatch. “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.”

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.