West Contra Costa Unified School District

Conscious Kitchen Ignites a Farm to School Movement

Conscious Kitchen is proud to partner with the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD). WCCUSD’s food service workers serve over 5 million meals each year. This expansion is our next big milestone to transform school dining as we work collaboratively with the district towards statewide policy change.

What’s Next?

On May 24, 2017 the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education approved a partnership agreement between the WCCUSD and Conscious Kitchen authorizing them to jointly raise funds towards a Conscious Kitchen pilot in the district. The first phase of the pilot launched at Peres Elementary and Middle School in Richmond on August 20, 2018. WCCUSD’s Central Kitchen is also beginning to transition procurement to FLOSN through a phased approach. These are incremental first steps as we gather data and continue to raise funds towards a districtwide transition. For information about how you can support this vital initiative, please contact Judi Shils at judi@turninggreen.org.

Equity and Access: Reducing Barriers of Access to Fresh, Healthy Food 

As an organization, we believe that access to healthy food is a right, not a privilege.

Conscious Kitchen seeks 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 people of color and low- income families are more likely to experience diet-related disease and have limited access to healthy foods.

Despite California’s economic and agricultural prosperity, over one in eight is hungry or at serious risk of hunger. Approximately 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 their low wages or modest public benefits can’t cover the cost of housing, utilities and food. Our children pay the greatest price; nearly one-third of California’s children are overweight or obese, increasing their risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. This reflects a trend in our society: obesity is the new face of malnutrition associated with hunger.

Schools play a critical role in terms of intervention. In California, 58 percent 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.

Our Food

A Conscious Kitchen breakfast includes a main course, fruit and milk or water with an average food cost of $1.24. A popular breakfast is Yogurt Parfaits with Conscious Kitchen 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. A popular lunch is barbecue chicken drumsticks, brown jasmine rice with cauliflower, and seasonal fruit. 

Please see a sample menu from CK @ Peres Elementary & Middle School here!

Our Chefs

We’d like to thank the extraordinary team of Bay Area chefs who generously donated their time and culinary brilliance to WCCUSD’s demonstration week in early 2017, which led to the Board of Education’s approval of the current pilot program. Their enthusiasm and passion for preparing delicious, organic food for students 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 Justin Everett, a founding partner of Conscious Kitchen and formerly, Executive Chef of Cavallo Point Lodge. 

Participating chefs include:


First Dollar Foundation, Julie and Will Parish, Betty Gaye Toney & John Potter, Rotary Club, Richmond CA

In Kind Support

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 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

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