Food Systems Project
The Food Systems Project is working to improve
the health of children and families in the Lagunitas Elementary
School District by:
- supporting a garden in the district,
- reevaluating a district-wide food systems-based curriculum,
- improving food access and nutritional health,
- linking family farms to schools,
- tackling food related public policy issues,
- supplying leadership and support, and serving as a model for
the Marin County Food Policy Council and the Environmental Education
Committee of Marin.
History of the Project
Over the past four years, the Health Services Team, through Green
Geronimo, has been working to support health and nutrition education,
an organic school garden, the school cafeteria, campus wide recycling,
and environmental education. The Health Services Team has also
organized two district-wide wellness days and has been working
to bring health care practitioners to the school and the community.
During the 1999-2000 school year, the work of the Health Services
Team was very curtailed because of Healthy Start funding cuts,
which reduced Marcie Leach's position from 36 to 18 days. At the
same time, however, the District made some very positive strides
in environmental education as part of the Marin Conservation Corps
Adopt-a-School program. The Healthy Community Collaborative Director
attended meetings of the School Site Council, the San Geronimo
School staff, and the Middle School staff, during which school
lunches/snacks and nutrition education were discussed. There seemed
to be a very strong consensus from these groups that we need to
support our school business office and our cafeteria staff in
improving our food delivery services (particularly at the San
Geronimo campus) and linking our garden and recycling programs
with our cafeteria. The Healthy Community Collaborative has continued
to support such activities as students working and learning in
an organic school garden, attempts to organize campus wide recycling
and composting, healthier meals in the cafeteria, and nutrition
and environmental education programs.
This effort received quite a boost this year with the award of
a California Nutrition Network Grant through Marin County's Department
of Health and Human Services and its Children's Health Services
office. In August 2000 the Health Services Team organized a Nutrition
Advisory Council. Participants include: Marcie Leach, School Nurse;
Alan Charne, Bonnie Nackley, Lura Thorpe, Amy Valens, Anny Owen,
all classroom teachers; Rosanne Urban, Mary Irish, cafeteria staff;
Mary Buttler, Jeff Lippstreu, administrative staff; Chelsea Enos,
Sam Mendez, students; Dave Cort, Susan Wilson Rodgers, Suzanne
Sadowsky, Kristy Arroyo, Peter Oppenheimer, Judy Voets, Healthy
Community Collaborative; Al Baylacq (co-owner of Good Earth Natural
Foods), Lisa Baylacq, Susan Swan, Christin Anderson, Carol Normandi,
Kyle Julin, school parents; Diane Matthew and Janet Brown, food
policy experts; Elizabeth Scott, Body Image/Eating Disorder expert;
Sean Burns, Environmental Education Council of Marin. The Environmental
Education Council of Marin (EECOM) and its Executive Director
Sandra Wallenstein has shown very positive support for the Lagunitas
A survey was done of families in the school and results have
been shared with the food service and school administrators. The
school menu now offers a fresh fruit or vegetable choice with
lunch and a vegetarian entree choice daily. Teachers were surveyed
as to their current nutrition education. Over half are doing nutrition
education; most are interested in an overall curriculum which
would include foods, eating habits, garden, exercise, body image,
self esteem. The goal is to ensure that meals served are part
of the overall education of students, with lessons on food production,
nutrition, preparation, waste reduction and composting.
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Lagunitas Elementary School District Food Policy
The School Board of Trustees recognizes the important connection
between a healthy diet and a student's ability to learn effectively
and achieve high standards in school. The Board also recognizes
the school's role, as part
of the larger community, to promote family health, sustainable agriculture
and environmental restoration.
The School Board of Trustees recognizes that the sharing of food
is a fundamental experience for all peoples; a primary way to nurture
and celebrate our cultural diversity; and an excellent bridge for
building friendships, and inter-generational bonds.
The educational mission is to improve the health of the entire community
by teaching students and families ways to establish and maintain
life-long healthy eating habits. The mission shall be accomplished
through nutrition and healthy eating education, garden experiences,
the food served in schools, and core academic content in the classroom.
- Ensure that no student in the Lagunitas Elementary School District
- Ensure that a healthy and nutritious snack and lunch is available
to every student at each school so that the students are prepared
to learn to their fullest potential.
- Eliminate the reduced-price category for school lunch, breakfast
and snacks, so that all low-income children have healthy food
available at no cost.
- Ensure that all qualified children become eligible for free
- Ensure maximum participation in the school meal program by developing
a coordinated, comprehensive outreach and promotion plan for the
school meal programs.
- Shift from food-based menu planning to nutrient-based planning
(as set forth under USDA guidelines) to allow for more flexible
- Ensure that the nutritional value of the food served significantly
improves upon USDA Dietary Guidelines by providing nutritious,
fresh, tasty, locally grown food that reflects San Geronimo Valley's
- Ensure that the food served shall be organic to the maximum
extent possible, as defined by the California Certified Organic
- Eliminate potential harmful food additives and processes, such
as bovine growth hormones, irradiation, and genetically modified
- Serve meals in a pleasant environment with sufficient time for
eating, while fostering good manners and respect for fellow students.
- Maximize the reduction of waste by recycling, reusing, composting
and purchasing recycled products. Each school site shall have
a recycling program.
- Ensure that food served will be of the highest quality district-wide.
- Integration into the Curriculum
- Integrate eating experiences, gardens, and nutrition and healthy
eating education into the curriculum for math, science, social
studies and language arts at all grade levels.
- With a school garden established in the school, give students
the opportunity to plant, harvest, prepare, cook and eat food
they have grown.
- Encourage farmers and farm workers to come to the school classroom
and arrange for students to visit farms.
- Solicit student preferences in planning menus and snacks through
annual focus groups, surveys, and taste tests of new foods and
- Ensure that 5 students are represented on the Nutrition Advisory
- Ensure that cafeterias are part of the environmental education
of students and staff through reducing waste, composting, recycling
and purchasing recycled material.
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Nutrition Education and Professional
- Purchase food from school gardens and local farmers as a first
priority, based on availability and acceptability. Cafeteria Staff
will coordinate its menus with school garden production and provide
to garden coordinators a list of the produce it wishes to purchase.
- Work with other Marin County school districts to increase the
amount of products purchased from local farms and organic food
- Provide regular professional development to enable the Cafeteria
Staff to become full partners in providing excellent food for
- Provide regular training, at least annually, to teachers and
the Cafeteria Staff on basic nutrition, nutrition education, and
benefits of organic and sustainable agriculture.
- Provide Cafeteria Staff with USDA approved computer software,
training and support to implement nutrient-based menu planning.
- The Nutrition Advisory Council shall regularly make progress
reports on the Food Systems Project to the Lagunitas School community
and to the San Geronimo Valley community.
Establishment of a Nutrition Advisory
- Advocate for label disclosure:
Request State and Federal representatives support legislation
that will clearly label food products that have been irradiated,
genetically modified or have been exposed to bovine growth hormones.
Send a School Board of Trustees resolution requesting support
for labeling legislation to:
- Every School Board in the State of California.
- The State School Boards Association.
- The Nation School Boards Association.
Maintenance and Repair of Equipment
- Nutrition Advisory Council shall be established to discuss food-related
topics of concern to the school community and help make policy
recommendations to the School Board of Trustees.
- The 20 Member Nutrition Advisory Council shall be as follows:
- 6 Community/Parent representatives appointed by the San
Geronimo Valley Healthy Community Collaborative.
- School Administrator.
- The School Nurse.
- Up to 3 Classified employees appointed by their employee
- Up to 3 Teachers (one from each program) appointed by their
- 5 Students (3 middle school and 2 elementary school) appointed
by the student council.
- The Advisory Committee shall meet at least six times a year
at hours convenient for public participation.
- The School Board of Trustees instructs the Maintenance Committee
to include kitchen facilities, food preparation and storage of
equipment as high priority in its comprehensive maintenance policy.
- Modernize computer equipment and programs, and institute an
automated accounting system.
Community Use of School District Property
- District facilities, including school kitchens may be available
to community based groups for their use and enjoyment under terms
established by the School Board of Trustees.
A Garden in Every School
The garden classroom is an ideal setting in which students begin
to understand the complexities of natural systems and the need to
conserve resources. The Project calls for the creation of a garden
classroom in the Lagunitas Elementary School District, and the integration
of a curriculum which promotes awareness of the relationship between
the way food is grown, the environment, and health.
An integrated curriculum utilizes the garden as a context for teaching
subject matter in the state frameworks. Math, history, science,
literature, writing, art and music-all can be associated with activities
in the garden and these subjects can be enriched and anchored by
the energy and excitement found in the garden classroom.
Through studying the entire food system, from seed to plate, students
come to understand how food reaches the table and the relationship
of agriculture and environment. The garden classroom is used to
illustrate cycles and systems, such as soil fertility, waste cycles,
As students come to understand their relationship to natural systems
and cycle, they can begin to form a context for more sustainable
and equitable patterns of living. Key to this understanding is the
little garden at the school and lessons it has to teach.
The partners in this effort share a common vision of sustainability
and concern for our children and their future. They recognize a
need to understand our place in nature, and to know more about food
and ecosystems and the cycles of life in order to create sustainable
Approved July 24, 2001