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home->Campaigns->Safeguard our students -> News

Palo Alto CA Schools Move Toward Organic Lunches

from <>
June 1, 2002

Served a variety of organic dishes last week students at Ohlone Elementary
School in Palo Alto were getting a taste of things to come this fall, when
Palo Alto Unified School District will become one of just a few districts in
the nation to offer organic lunches.

The move reflects a nationwide push that is being led by California and
Texas, both of which are using new laws to phase out junk food in schools.
The Oakland school district this year banned candy, soda and other junk food
from its campuses. And last year, Berkeley schools went entirely organic.

The Ohlone school trial was part of a pilot pilot program, which officials
hope to expand throughout the district if successful. "We were looking to
get healthier food into the school lunch program," said parent Penny
Gertridge, chairwoman of the Healthy School Lunch Committee and a registered
nurse. "We wanted better quality of food for our kids."

The group began talking with Sodexho, the district's food supplier, to see
how feasible it would be to buy organic food and fruits and vegetables from
local farmers. Alva Spence, a contractor who coordinates food service for
the district, said she thought the idea was fantastic. Her only concern is
price: Organic food generally is more expensive than its processed
counterparts. "This is not a break-even program," Spence said. But she and
the committee are hopeful that over the summer they will produce a workable
solution. In a district of about 10,000 children, a relative few -- 520 --
are on free or reduced lunch, so one option is to subsidize those children's
meals, she said.

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