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Berkeley Unified School District's Food Policy



The Board of Education recognizes the important connection between a healthy diet and a student's ability to learn effectively and achieve high standards in school. The Board also recognizes the school's role, as part of the larger community, to promote family health, sustainable agriculture and environmental restoration.

The Board of Education recognizes that the sharing of food is a fundamental experience for all peoples; a primary way to nurture and celebrate our cultural diversity; and an excellent bridge for building friendships, and inter-generational bonds.


The educational mission is to improve the health of the entire community by teaching students and families ways to establish and maintain life-long healthy eating habits. The mission shall be accomplished through nutrition education, garden experiences, the food served in schools, and core academic content in the classroom.


  1. Ensure that no student in Berkeley is hungry.

  2. Ensure that a healthy and nutritious breakfast, lunch and after school snack is available to every student at every school so that students are prepared to learn to their fullest potential.

  3. Eliminate the reduced-price category for school lunch, breakfast and snacks, so that all low-income children have healthy food available at no cost.

  4. Ensure that all qualified children become eligible for free meals by frequently checking with Alameda County Social Services.

  5. Ensure maximum participation in the school meal program by developing a coordinated, comprehensive outreach and promotion plan for the school meal programs.

  6. Shift from food-based menu planning to nutrient-based planning (as set forth under USDA guidelines) to allow for more flexible food selection.

  7. Ensure that the nutritional value of the food served significantly improves upon USDA Dietary Guidelines by providing nutritious, fresh, tasty, locally grown food that reflects Berkeley's cultural diversity.

  8. Ensure that the food served shall be organic to the maximum extent possible, as defined by the California Certified Organic Farmers.

  9. Eliminate potential harmful food additives and processes, such as bovine growth hormones, irradiation, and genetically modified foods.

  10. Serve meals in a pleasant environment with sufficient time for eating, while fostering good manners and respect for fellow students.

  11. Maximize the reduction of waste by recycling, reusing, composting and purchasing recycled products. Each school site shall have a recycling program.

  12. Ensure that a full service kitchen will be installed at school sites where public bond money is expended to repair or remodel a school.


A. Integration into the Curriculum

  1. Integrate eating experiences, gardens, and nutrition education into the curriculum for math, science, social studies and language arts at all grade levels.

  2. Establish a school garden in every school. Give students the opportunity to plant, harvest, prepare, cook and eat food they have grown.

  3. Establish relationships with local farms. Encourage farmers and farm workers to come to the school classroom and arrange for students to visit farms.

B. Student Participation

  1. Solicit student preferences in planning menus and snacks through annual focus groups, surveys, and taste tests of new foods and recipes.

  2. Ensure that 5 students are represented on the Child Nutrition Advisory Committee.

C. Waste Reduction

  1. Ensure that cafeterias are part of the environmental education of students and staff through reducing waste, composting, recycling and purchasing recycled material.

D. Sustainable Agriculture

  1. Purchase food from school gardens and local farmers as a first priority, based on availability and acceptability. Child Nutrition Services will coordinate its menus with school garden production and provide to garden coordinators a list of the produce it wishes to purchase.

  2. Work with the Alameda County Cooperative Bid (13 school districts) to increase the amount of products purchased from local farms and organic food suppliers.

E. Nutrition Education and Professional Development

  1. Provide regular professional development to enable the Food Services Staff to become full partners in providing excellent food for our students.

  2. Provide regular training, at least annually, to teachers and the Food Service Staff on basic nutrition, nutrition education, and benefits of organic and sustainable agriculture.

  3. Provide Child Nutrition Services with USDA approved computer software, training and support to implement nutrient-based menu planning.

F. Business Plan

  1. The Board of Education shall do a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis and business plan. The plan shall include an examination of different development models of increased fresh food preparation at the central and satellite kitchens.

G. Public Information

  1. Each year in March, Child Nutrition Services shall prepare The Director's Annual Report for the Board of Education, which will include: a) Description of the level of service for each site and level of participation; b) Profit and Loss Statement for the past fiscal year; c) Outreach and Promotion Marketing Plan (with assistance from Advisory Committee) d) Budget for the future year; e) Report on the progress in meeting the food policy goals ; f) Nutritional quality of the food being served; g) Inventory of equipment; h) Budget for maintenance and replacement equipment; i) Accounting of Child Nutrition Services' financial reserve and a budget allocating the reserve.

  2. The Berkeley Unified School District's Food Policy, Director's Annual Report, Monthly Menus and food policy information shall be available at District Office and on the Board of Education's Web site.

  3. A summary of the Director's Annual Report shall be distributed as part of the April and May menus.

H. Public Policy

  1. Advocate for label disclosure: a) Request State and Federal representatives support legislation that will clearly label food products that have been irradiated, genetically modified or have been exposed to bovine growth hormones. b) Send a Board of Education resolution requesting support for labeling legislation to: 1. Every School Board in the State of California. 2. The State School Boards Association. 3. The Nation School Boards Association.

I. Establishment of a Child Nutrition Advisory Committee

  1. Child Nutrition Advisory Committee shall be established to discuss food-related topics of concern to the school community and help make policy recommendations to the Board of Education.

  2. The 24 Member Child Nutrition Advisory Committee shall be as follows:

         a) 10 Community/Parent representatives appointed by the Board of Education
         b) The Superintendent. c) The Director of Child Nutrition Services.
         d) 3 Classified employees appointed by their employee organization.
         e) 3 Teachers (elementary, middle and high school) appointed by their employee organization.
         f) 1 Principal appointed by their employee organization.
         g) 5 Students (3 middle school and 2 high school) appointed by student government

  3. The Advisory Committee shall meet at least six times a year at hours convenient for public participation.

  4. The Duties and Responsibilities shall be as follows: a) Present to the Board of Education an Annual Report in April of each year on the status of meeting the food policy goals. The report shall contain: 1. Review and comment on the Director's Annual Report, Profit and Loss Statement, Marketing Plan and Business Plan. 2. Recommendations for improving the delivery and cost effectiveness of food services. b) Assist the Director of Child Nutrition Service in the development and implementation of the Outreach and Promotion Marketing plan. c) Review and report by February 1 to the Board of Education on recommendations to eliminate potentially harmful food additives and processes. d) Make periodic reports, as the Advisory Committee deems necessary. e) Establish rules for decision-making.

J. Maintenance and Repair of Equipment

  1. The Board of Education instructs the Maintenance Committee to include kitchen facilities, food preparation and storage of equipment as high priority in its comprehensive maintenance policy.

  2. Modernize computer equipment and programs, and institute an automated accounting system.

K. Community Use of School District Property

  1. District facilities, including school kitchens shall be available to community based groups for their use and enjoyment under terms established by the Board of Education.

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