It’s not a stretch to say San Diego Unified School District has one of the more progressive school lunch programs in the nation.
Its school cafeterias are stocked with fresh salad bars. Mondays are meatless. School gardens are thriving. Local organic tofu is a regular menu item. A million pounds of local, fresh produce like avocados, persimmons and Julian apples have reached the hands and mouths of growing kids, thanks to a vibrant farm-to-school program, and a climate that allows for a year-round growing season.
And with more than 131,000 hungry mouths to feed every day – the district’s sheer size (it’s the second largest school district in the state of California, behind Los Angeles) means there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to educating children about nutrition and healthy food choices. Neither the school district, nor local farmers have the marketing dollars to compete with fast food, soda and sugared cereals when it comes to getting our children’s attention.
San Diego is now just one of three Southern California school districts to be assigned a FoodCorps service member (Ventura and Los Angeles were the other two).