Celebrating a Historic Leap for Better Breakfasts: CEREAL-ously ORGANIC

After 2+ years of collaboration, innovation, and dedication to shifting the paradigm around school food, Conscious Kitchen, Nature’s Path, and West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) made history through a collaborative effort to radically transform a breakfast staple at schools across the nation. On May 2nd, we hosted CEREAL-ously ORGANIC at Michelle Obama Elementary School in Richmond, California to celebrate the launch of the nation’s first USDA organic, school-compliant bulk cereals, prioritizing the health of students and our planet. This milestone marks a significant step forward in our mission to transform school meals with healthier, more sustainable options.

A Pioneering Initiative

Some of you may ask yourselves, “why cereal?” – cereal is a staple in school breakfast programs across the country, with enormous quantities consumed daily. However, until now, none of it was organic. Nature’s Path, in partnership with Conscious Kitchen and WCCUSD, has changed this with the introduction of USDA organic, school-compliant Choco Chimps and Monarch Magic cereals, setting a new standard for school breakfasts. If that weren’t a noble cause in of itself – a portion of every sale of Choco Chimps and Monarch Magic cereals supports important environmental causes, such as the Jane Goodall Institute and the Monarch Butterfly Fund, promoting environmental stewardship and education.

Health, Sustainability, and Community

The CEREAL-ously Organic event showcased not only these nutritious cereals but also the powerful cross-sector partnerships that makes a sustainable breakfast possible. By sourcing organic produce from local farmers and adopting Straus Family Creamery’s Organic Bulk Milk Program we are ensuring that school meals are healthy, support local economies, reduce food and packaging waste, and offer high-quality, pesticide/antibiotic/hormone-free milk. Straus Family Creamery, known for its climate-positive practices and nearly carbon-neutral organic dairy farming, exemplifies our commitment to sustainable and resilient food systems. These efforts, showcased at this event, propel our goal of integrating at least 25% organic items into school meals across California, highlighting both health benefits and positive climate impact. 

Celebrating with Community Leaders

The event drew in influential figures who have demonstrated their commitment to better school food throughout their careers, underscoring the importance of this initiative. California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Thurmond; Founder, Chef, Author & School Food Activist Alice Waters; WCCUSD Superintendent Dr. Chris Hurst; USDA Regional Administrator Jesus Mendoza; and Straus Family Creamery Owner Albert Straus were pivotal in demonstrating the community’s dedication to enhancing children’s health and our planet’s future.

Alice Waters, owner and founder of Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard Project, and long-time advocate for organic school meals, echoed the sentiment, stating, “School-supported agriculture is pivotal to the health and resilience of our kids and communities.” Gary Grijalva, National Foodservice Director for Nature’s Path, highlighted the company’s ethos: “Food for schools is not a business opportunity, but nourishing kids in schools is a business responsibility.” Dr. Thurmond added, “The Conscious Kitchen model is a blueprint that we should replicate in our entire state.”

Empowering the Next Generation

A key aspect of the CEREAL-ously Organic event was the involvement of our Conscious Kitchen Ambassadors. These young leaders played an active role in the event, greeting dignitaries, learning about the importance of monarch butterflies as endangered pollinators, and using their voices to advocate for better food in school. Seeing these ambassadors gain confidence and actively engage with influential community leaders was inspiring, as they are central to Conscious Kitchen’s student-driven model for systems change.

A Unified Commitment

The event was not just a celebration of a new product but a testament to what can be achieved through collaboration. Our shared dedication to improving school food systems and supporting organic supply chains from local farmers to school kitchens is a powerful force for change that is growing every year. As we move forward, we are inspired by the words of Alice Waters, Tony Thurmond and Gary Grijalva, and motivated by the enthusiastic engagement from our Conscious Kitchen Student Ambassadors, who gave Choco Chimps and Monarch Magic two thumbs up.

Join the Movement

We invite schools, communities, and partners to join us in this transformative journey. Let the purchase of these new cereals be the starting point of your journey towards 25% organic food in your district – and beyond! Together, we can make organic, nutritious breakfasts a reality for students across the nation. Let’s continue to nourish our people and planet, one bowl of cereal at a time.

Thank you for being part of this historic moment. Here’s to healthier, more sustainable school breakfasts and a brighter future for our children and our planet. By joining forces and embracing innovation, we are shaping a future where every child starts their day with a healthy, organic breakfast. 

“I’m committing to helping to carry out Judi’s homework assignment – to make sure that we get all California schools marching in the same direction towards 100% organic. How’s that sound? Are you ready to do it?” ~ Dr. Tony Thurmond, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction 

With the support of California’s leadership and communities, we can make this vision a reality, setting a new standard for school meals nationwide.


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