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New CA Program Can Deliver Organic School Lunches

California piloted its first statewide Farm to School (F2S) program in 2021, awarding $8.5 million dollars in grants to school districts throughout the state, though demand was far higher. With an expanded $30 million budget and its second year of grant-making in process, our state’s F2S program is maturing into a multi-faceted effort to make our food system more equitable, healthy, and climate-friendly. 

Although California’s agricultural abundance is well known, our kids are not spared from hunger. In fact, far from it. One in seven California children, predominantly Black and Latino, are food insecure. Schools continue to be a lifeline for millions of students, and Farm to School makes the healthy, nourishing meals kids need possible. Meanwhile, California farming communities have among the highest levels of hunger and food insecurity in the state; children in these communities also live and go to school in places with high rates of pesticide exposure. By prioritizing procurement from organic farmers that avoid all or most pesticide use, our state’s Farm to School program will also help reduce health risks faced by these especially vulnerable children.