California Thursdays®


is a collaboration between the Center for Ecoliteracy and a network of public school districts to serve healthy, freshly prepared school meals made from California-grown food.

Serving fresh healthy food supports student health and academic achievement. It helps kids learn where their food comes from. Buying locally creates jobs and boosts the economy. It is also good for the environment.

Learn about the Network

The California Thursdays Network includes 71 public school districts across the state with more than 2,900 schools, 1.85 million students, and 11,600 nutrition service staff. Collectively, districts in the Network serve over 309 million school meals each year. SEE THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS ›

California Tastes Amazing

Get cooking with your kids! Use this free cookbook with four delicious California Thursdays meals to prepare at home. GET IT HERE ›

Local Kids. Local Food. San Diego.

School districts in San Diego county are collaborating to serve more fresh, local food. FIND OUT MORE ›


For Parents

How can you help improve the quality of your child's school meals? Here are five things you can do to learn about school meals and encourage your district to make them fresher, healthier, and tastier.

En Español

Cinco cosas que los padres pueden hacer. ver mas ›

Aisha Tyler Gets Real about School Food

The talented actor, talk show host, and author shares her support for fresh, real school food. SEE MORE ›

California Thursdays Stories from the Field

Learn how districts across the state are transforming their meal programs and linking classrooms, cafeterias, and school gardens.

Encinitas Unified: Encinitas Unified School District's Farm Lab is both a certified organic farm and a living classroom. READ MORE ›

Contra Costa County: The "California Wrap" was served at many districts across Contra Costa County, a strategy that allows them to purchase collectively on California Thursdays. READ MORE ›

Oakland Unified: Oakland Unified started with just one fresh, local meal a month, gradually transforming 21,000 school meals a day. READ MORE ›

For Educators

How can you encourage students' curiosity and understanding of California food? Here are five things educators can do that support teaching and learning about fresh, healthy California food, the people who provide it, and how it grows. FIVE THINGS EDUCATORS CAN DO ›

"California Thursdays brings awareness of the fresh, wholesome, and seasonal bounty of our state."

Karen Ross
Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture

"I really believe if you offer a healthy choice and only a healthy choice of food, students will take it and eat it."

Gary Petill
Food Service Director
San Diego Unified School District

"Oh, to be a kid again in a California school (on a Thursday)."

Deborah Kane
National Director
USDA Farm to School Program

"California Thursdays is a great way to expand your Farm to School program to the center of the plate."

Jennifer LeBarre
Executive Director of Nutrition Services
Oakland Unified School District

"Part of my job is teaching where food comes from. California Thursdays provides a vehicle to promote California's great agriculture."

Michelle Drake
Director, Food and Nutrition Services
Elk Grove Unified School District

School Meals Featuring California Foods

These 21 recipes, scaled and tested for 50 and 100 servings, feature California-grown fruits and vegetables. Designed for school nutrition services, these reimbursable recipes include meal plan contributions, serving sizes, and recipe yields. GET THE RECIPES HERE ›

En Español

21 recetas que pueden render entre 50 y 100 porciones.
Descargar ahora ›

Everybody's talking about California Thursdays

See newscasts and articles about the movement for freshly prepared California school meals. SEE MORE ›

About the Center for Ecoliteracy

The Center for Ecoliteracy is a nonprofit that advances ecological education in K-12 schools. We recognize that students need to experience and understand how nature sustains life and how to live accordingly. VISIT US HERE

More from the Center for Ecoliteracy

  • California Food for California Kids. A comprehensive statewide initiative to improve school food. VISIT WEBSITE
  • Making the Case. Fresh, healthy meals are good for students, good for learning, and often good for school finances. VISIT WEBSITE
  • Big Ideas: A New Alignment with Academic Standards. This publication identifies key concepts that link food, culture, health, and the environment and aligns them with recent academic standards. READ MORE
  • Rethinking School Lunch Guide. This guide explains the rationale for reforming school food and presents a planning framework based on ten important pathways. READ MORE