Oakland’s Farm Fresh Approach to School Food

by Sarah Henry on March 3, 2011 · 19 comments

in edible east bay magazine,farmers' markets,school food

Oakland Fresh coordinator Christine Cherdboonmuang (center) with program volunteers.

Regular readers of this blog know I’ve written a number of posts on school food in Berkeley.

Now comes news about that town’s near neighbor, Oakland, which has been rolling out an innovative program to ensure that students and their families have access to healthy food.

Photo: Courtesy of the Oakland Unified School District

The Oakland Fresh School Produce Markets, a partnership between the Nutrition Services Department of Oakland Unified School District and the nonprofit East Bay Asian Youth Center, offers fresh, local fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, honey, grains, beans, and other whole foods sold at affordable prices in weekly markets at 12 elementary schools.

Another 13 schools are scheduled to begin the program next school year. Oakland Fresh may well provide a model for other school districts across the country.

Read the whole story in the current issue of Edible East Bay.

You might also like:

School Produce Stand Feeds Families in Oakland
Berkeley’s School Lunch Program Flawed, Say Insiders
Berkeley’s School Lunch Makes its Big Screen Debut
New School Food Study: Victory for Alice Waters
Feed a Family, Fund a Farmer, Support a School

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

debbie koenig March 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm

What an ingenious idea! So the kids get to buy stuff & take home, or are parents invited? Or am I completely misunderstanding how this works?
debbie koenig´s last [type] ..I Bribed—Excuse Me- Encouraged Via the Promise of Reward—My Child to Eat Vegetables

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Sarah Henry March 3, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Both. The market is set up in time for after-school traffic — kids, parents, community members — which makes total sense. You grab your kid/s and you pick up produce for dinner. They host cooking demos, hand out recipes, and offer taste tests too.

You can read all the details in the full article.

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NoPotCooking March 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I love that idea! This makes healthy food totally accessible, at least for parents who can get to the school during sale hours.
NoPotCooking´s last [type] ..March Must Be No Pot Month

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Sarah Henry March 4, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Agreed, NPC. But as you point out, there’s still a large group of working parents who can’t make school pick up. At least their kids are getting exposure to the bounty of the market.

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Jane Boursaw March 5, 2011 at 9:45 am

What a great idea and a great way to get kids engaged with fresh food.
Jane Boursaw´s last [type] ..65 Movies I’m Looking Forward to in 2011

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Sarah Henry March 7, 2011 at 6:27 am

Agreed, Jane. And relatively simple too.

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Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi March 5, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Exciting idea. At least kids know what fresh produce looks like!
Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi´s last [type] ..Bee’s Knees Honey and Beeswax

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Sarah Henry March 7, 2011 at 6:27 am

And tastes like too: Since the markets do cooking demos and taste tests as well.

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Sheryl March 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm

What a fabulous way to not only get kids involved in healthy foods, but to give them an opportunity to bring some home with them too.

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Sarah Henry March 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Bringing produce — and recipes home — is key to bringing about change in a family’s kitchen, don’t you think, Sheryl?

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Jennifer Margulis March 8, 2011 at 11:34 am

So glad to learn that Oakland is getting on board! My aunt and uncle live there, though their kids are no longer school age.

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Sarah Henry March 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm

And it’s a large school district, Jen, so it make take time but Oakland schools are certainly taking steps in the right direction.

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Jeanine Barone March 9, 2011 at 8:19 pm

As a nutritionist and former teacher, I know that when kids and parents have easy access to fresh produce as well as recipes that provide creative dinner solutions using fruits and vegetables, they’re more likely to eat healthfully. great post.

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Sarah Henry March 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Thanks, Jeanine, and I think you’re absolutely right.

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MyKidsEatSquid March 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm

This is such a great idea. It always seems like I’m running to the store right before I pick up my kids, but to have it all right there–that would be so convenient.

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Sarah Henry March 22, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Yes, convenient and captive audience — perfect for a produce market.

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