Nutrition Services in Partnership with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is taking a comprehensive approach to promoting healthy living in schools. Our school team has created an exciting series of nutrition education programs and campaigns for teachers, students and parents.
OAKLAND FRESH School Produce Markets started in 2009 by bringing produce from local farmers and distributors to 12 elementary schools in Oakland to provide families direct access to high-quality fresh foods. Every week, pesticide-free fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, honey, and other healthy foods are sold at low cost, and EBT food stamps are accepted.
Thanks to the enthusiastic participation of parents, teachers, school staff, neighbors and students, Oakland Fresh School Produce Markets opened 12 more markets in October, 2011. There are currently 17 school produce markets throughout Oakland Unified School District. Visit a market today!
Harvest of the Month is a fun and healthy way to positively impact students’ preference for and consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables. The program introduces seasonal produce to students in the classroom on a monthly basis through exciting classroom events, such as cooking demonstrations, school garden activities and fun taste tasting activities. Students are able to not only taste the produce, but learn about it in the classroom, and see it in school environments including gardens, cafeterias and on bulletin boards. The Network for a Healthy California, the statewide sponsor of Harvest of the Month, indicates that the program also presents a strategic opportunity to bring together the classroom, cafeteria, home and community to promote a common goal and healthier habits for students, especially those in low resource schools.
Since 2006, Nutrition Services estimates that its Oakland Unified School District partner schools have received more than 112,000 pounds of produce which have helped support students’ healthy food choices through increased access and consumption of fruits and vegetables. According to the Network, studies show that healthy eating, as well as daily physical activity, have a profound impact on the body and mind by improving the ability to learn and comprehend, boosting energy, improving school attendance and changing attitudes and behavior.
One of the fun ways to learn more about nutrition and healthy eating is the monthly Harvest of the Month newsletter. It’s an excellent way to provide teachers and families with information about nutrition facts on fruits and vegetables that are grown right here in California. Every month a different produce item is highlighted along with a host of nutrition-related resources, recipes and fun family nutrition-related trivia.
Click on the link to view this month's Family Newsletter in English and Spanish.
Hosted in elementary and middle schools, Healthy Living Champions for Change Councils empower parents to become actively engaged in the nutrition and health of families, schools, and communities. During monthly meetings parents learn about healthy eating and physical activity programs and participate and prepare food demonstrations that focus on healthy food preparation. The Champions for Change parents have become true change agents taking action on both a personal and community level.
Successes include: initiation of school based walking clubs, assistance with school safety patrols, organization of salad bar volunteers, and in 2011, many members took the East Bay Parks and Recreation Trails Challenge, hiking at least five of the featured trails. Currently, there are over twenty groups with more than 250 participants throughout Alameda County.
Believing that children get more excited about eating fruits and vegetables when they had a part in growing them or when they know where they come from and how they grow, we actively promote the nutritional benefits of edible gardens in each of our partner schools.
We partner with OUSD to fund a Garden Based Nutrition Education Coordinator / Teacher on Special Assignment in the Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction Department of OUSD. Through this partnership, we provide technical assistance to support garden based nutrition education in the schools, and we connect these experiential learning programs into the classroom, cafeteria, and the community food system. We also model lessons and develop teacher capacity to use their school garden to reinforce classroom learning. Click here to find out more.
OAKLAND FRESH is a project of the Oakland Unified School District Nutrition Services Department, in partnership with the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), and the Alameda County Community Food Bank, Alameda County Public Health Department, Oakland Unified School District Complementary Learning, Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association and the University of California Cooperative Extension