Why do we love Earth Day? Because the day calls on us to reflect upon the most wonderful gift we have received—the earth, our home. This year, we celebrated with California’s First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and many like-minded champions of the state’s Farm to School initiatives, local leaders who are dedicated to transforming school food systems.
Government officials, school districts, chefs, farmers, parents, and students all enjoyed working to renew land at Rancho Cordova’s Soil Born Farms and tasting delicious, nutritious food. In addition to community bonding, there was a big topic at hand: crafting a world where our children can be fed healthy, whole meals while also fighting climate change and social injustices.
The First Partner is leading the way, breaking down barriers hand in hand with local community members. Her Farm to School Program, created alongside the California Department of Food and Agriculture, helps provide farmers and districts with funding, connections, and support for sustainable agriculture. More than 1.5 million students in California have benefited from the program since 2021 and funding has reached $60 million in grants, of which Conscious Kitchen is proud to be a two-time awardee! The Farm to School movement helps nourish the minds and bodies of next generation’s leaders with “the message that we can grow what our kids eat and that our kids can learn,” as State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said at the event. These kids are ready to fight for a better world, and it is our job to support their roots with nutrition and education, as we do with Conscious Kitchen each day.
Schools are where kids spend most of their time, the foundation for healthy development. Farm to School makes much needed improvements to school meals, as Siebel Newsom emphasized at the event. “Children deserve to be fed whole food, fresh food, organic food.” She went on to urge that “there’s this connection between what we put into our body, how we treat the environment, how we grow our food, our academic performance, the local economy, and real jobs.” At Conscious Kitchen, we know that it takes a village to shift a system and are proud to be part of the effort to unite and propel communities statewide.
Alongside the First Partner, our partner chef and dear friend Alice Waters shared the stage with Conscious Kitchen Ambassador Joaquin during the luncheon. The WCCUSD middle school student poured his heart into moving remarks, sharing learnings about flavors and health, as well as tasting FLOSN (fresh, local, organic, seasonal, nutritious) foods. “Through the Farm to School program at my school, I’ve learned more about the benefits of fresh, organic produce and the importance of an organic school farm, and I’ve also gained a lot of confidence through my role as a Conscious Kitchen Ambassador,” he received a standing ovation, looking out to a proud crowd of beaming smiles. Joaquin’s sentiment is what Conscious Kitchen is all about: working directly with students, school food teams, and organic farmers in our local communities to change food systems.
We are thankful for the incredible support of the First Partner’s office and state of California to further our collective missions. As farmer Anna Knight of Old Grove Orange mentioned at the event, we strive to give kids the “opportunity to develop relationships with their farmers [and] experience mankind’s millennia-long collaboration with nature.” Our kids depend upon it, our earth depends upon it, and together, we will do it.