Conscious Kitchen AND wccusd FURtHER Farm to School
Conscious Kitchen is proud to partner with the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) since 2017. WCCUSD food service teams serve over 5 million meals each year to more than 30,000 students in 54 schools. We work collaboratively to transform school meals and procurement across the district, as we work to prove what is possible and achieve statewide policy change.
In May 2017, the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education approved a partnership agreement with Conscious Kitchen. The first phase of the year-long pilot launched at Peres Elementary and Middle School in Richmond in August 2018. WCCUSD’s Central Kitchen began to transition procurement to FLOSN through a phased approach, alongside data gathering. In October 2020, during the pandemic school closures, WCCUSD and Conscious Kitchen joined forces on food boxes, a collaboration that channeled $17 million into local economies to purchase 10.7 million pounds of organic food for 18.7 million meals to nourish the students and families across West Contra Costa County. When school went back into 2021, we worked together to increase organic procurement from 0% to 50% in one year (and increasing still!), while developing and successfully implementing a viable organic supply chain for institutional purchasing.
Learn how we champion equity, health and organics with this current program assessment
We believe that access to healthy food is a right, not a privilege. Conscious Kitchen focuses on equity, reducing barriers to fresh organic food and seeking to overcome health disparities that take an unfair toll on children growing up in low-income households. We do our work within the context of a food system in which BIPOC and low-income families are more likely to experience diet-related disease and face limited access to healthy foods.
Despite California’s economic and agricultural prosperity, over one in eight is hungry or at serious risk of hunger. One in five California children may go to bed hungry at night. Hunger is a symptom of poverty; far too many families experience devastating health consequences when low wages or modest public benefits can’t cover costs of housing, utilities and food. Our children pay the greatest price; nearly 1/3 of California’s children are overweight or obese, increasing risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. This reflects a societal trend: obesity is a new face of malnutrition associated with hunger.
Schools play a critical role in terms of intervention. In California, 58% of students are eligible for free and reduced price school meals. For a majority of children in CA, the meals they eat at school are their primary source of nutrition. West Contra Costa Unified School District is comprised of 54 schools, serving over 30,000 students, 70% of whom live below the poverty line, qualifying for free and reduced school meals. The student population is diverse and representative of the state’s rapidly changing demographics: 53% of students at WCCUSD identify as Hispanic/Latino, 10% White, 10% Asian/Asian American and 18% African American. As such, this is an important District to test, measure and improve the school food framework as we look to expand this program across California.
A Conscious Kitchen breakfast includes a main course, fruit and milk or water with an average food cost of $1.24. One popular breakfast is yogurt parfaits with granola and cinnamon apples.
A Conscious Kitchen lunch includes a main course, side of veggies, fruit and milk or water at an average food cost of $1.58. One favorite lunch is barbecue chicken drumsticks, brown rice with cauliflower, and seasonal fruit.
Please see a sample menu from CK at Peres Elementary & Middle School here!
We’d like to thank the extraordinary team of Bay Area chefs who have generously donated their time and culinary brilliance to our WCCUSD collaboration over the years. Their enthusiasm and passion for preparing delicious, organic food for students has brought an unparalleled sense of joy and nourishment to the school community.
“After developing this program in the Sausalito-Marin City School District and knowing that it works and makes an enormous difference in the lives of the children, teachers and entire school community, I’m very excited to see Conscious Kitchen expanding across the Bay Area and serving as a platform for state policy,” said ChefJustin Everett, a founding partner of Conscious Kitchen.
Food/ Farmers/ Purveyors Mary’s Organic Chicken, Rock Island, Clover Organic Milk, Lundberg Family Farms, Capay Organic, Marin Cheese, Nutiva, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Simply Organics, Shady Maple Farms, Straus Family Creamery, Del Monte Meat Company, Pacific Gourmet, Cooks Produce, Edison Grainery, Pacific Produce, San Francisco Specialty Produce, FEED Sonoma
People and Businesses: First Dollar Foundation, Julie and Will Parish, Betty Gaye Toney & John Potter, Rotary Club, Richmond CA, Alison Makala, Jawan Eldridge, Barbara Jellison, Alena Andress, Kelly Cary, Deneane Hannon, Rosa Koyoc, Jennifer Rienks, Barbara Sobel, Fanny Powell, Haylea Hannah, One True North, Cobalt Event Productions, Stacy Malkan, Susan Black, Leslie Leslie, Big 4 Party Rentals, Cambro, Cayson Designs, Full Circle Home, If You Care, Repurpose Compostable, Silver King, US Pure Water, Williams Sonoma, Active Kyds, Butcher Paper King