What We Do
The Center for Ecoliteracy promotes ecological education.
We recognize that students need to experience and understand how nature sustains life and how to live accordingly. We encourage schools to teach and model sustainable practices.
The Center leads systems change initiatives, publishes original books and resources, facilitates conferences and professional development, and provides strategic consulting. We work at multiple levels of scale, with local, regional, state, and national programs.
One initiative, California Food for California Kids® supports systems change by improving children's health, education, and the state's economy while teaching students where food comes from and how it reaches the table.
The Center was founded in 1995 as a nonprofit dedicated to education for sustainable living by Fritjof Capra, author and systems thinker; Peter Buckley, business leader, farmer, and philanthropist; and executive director Zenobia Barlow, a pioneer in creating models of schooling for sustainability. It is located in the award-winning David Brower Center in Berkeley, California.
The Center supports leaders in cultivating conditions for social impact and sustainable systemic change. Major projects include California Thursdays®, our implementation strategy for healthy, freshly prepared school meals from California-grown food, advanced through our statewide network of school districts serving more than 250 million meals a year. Our Education for Sustainable Living seminars have attracted participants from five continents and 40 states.
We have authored or co-authored eight books, including Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World; Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability; and Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence. Our Rethinking School Lunch Guide has provided structure and insight for districts across the country. (Its parent project, The Food Systems Project, was ranked among the “top ten funding successes of the decade” by one of its principal funders, the USDA). Our online educational resources include Big Ideas: Linking Food, Culture, Health, and the Environment; Making the Case for Healthy, Freshly Prepared School Meals; and the discussion guide for the Academy award-nominated documentary, Food, Inc.