School cafeterias getting fresh

Statewide program brings local food to cafeterias in 15 school districts

A new program in which school cafeterias produce meals with local food—or at least ingredients from California—began in 15 school districts across the state on Oct. 23.

California Thursdays, organized and managed by Berkeley-based nonprofit Center for Ecoliteracy, is expanding after a successful pilot program in Oakland, according to California Healthline. Some districts will host California Thursdays once a month, while about a third of the schools plan on operating the program weekly.

Adam Kesselmen of Ecoliteracy said that, for some school cafeterias, providing fresh food is the first step. Many of the facilities are antiquated and don’t have kitchens, while “there are a number of kitchens in districts that are not actually preparing food, they’re more heat-and-serve.”

California Thursdays will expand again next April, and Ecoliteracy is currently accepting applications from interested school districts.