An Evaluation of the School Lunch Initiative

Published April 23, 2013 | Updated January 31, 2017
Place of Learning: Cafeteria
Resource Type: Assessment/Evaluation
Grade Level: Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8
Uploaded by:
Emilie Gioia
Program Affiliations:

A Report by the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California at Berkeley. Commissioned by the Chez Panisse Foundation (now the Edible Schoolyard Project).


Our vision has always been to mirror the lessons of the kitchen and garden classroom in the lunchroom. In 2004, the Chez Panisse Foundation partnered with Berkeley Unified School District to design a model for this vision. With the support of the district, we set about to change what all 10,000 Berkeley public school children eat for lunch in school, and how they learn about food, every day.

After three years of on-the-ground work in Berkeley, we have transformed the school meal program. The new Dining Commons at King Middle School now serves as the central kitchen for all 16 schools in the district, providing 8,000 meals per day, made from scratch, with wholesome, fresh, and seasonal ingredients. Read about our accomplishments and lessons learned.



 In October 2005, the Chez Panisse Foundation provided a grant to the Berkeley Unified School District to hire Ann Cooper, a chef and former Kellogg Food and Society Fellow, as the Director of Nutrition Services for the district. Through Cooper's persistence, we eliminated nearly all processed foods in the district and introduced fresh and organic foods to the daily menu, while remaining within the district's food service budget. Read our whitepaper, Lunch Matters. Through support from the Chez Panisse Foundation and Rodale Publishing, the Center for Weight and Health at the University of California, Berkeley conducted a three-year study to evaluate the Initiative's impact on student attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors towards food. Read the Year One and Year Two Progress Reports of the School Lunch Initiative Evaluation. The Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California at Berkeley announced their evaluation report of the School Lunch Initiative, Changing Students' Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior in Relation to Food: An Evaluation of the School Lunch Initiative, in the Fall of 2010.

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