School Meals for All

“Free school meals for all is based on a simple, compelling premise: universal schools, universal meals.” Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Center for Ecoliteracy Board Member

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California is poised to be the first state in the nation to transform school food by permanently providing free school meals to all K-12 public school students. 

The Center for Ecoliteracy, along with a growing coalition of over 200 organizations, urges Governor Newsom to adopt the California Legislature's proposal for School Meals for All in the California budget, which would: 

  • Serve free breakfast and lunch to every student in California public schools, permanently.
  • Train and equip school nutrition professionals to serve freshly prepared meals.
  • Provide budget relief for school nutrition departments that lost revenue due to the pandemic.
  • Fund Farm to School initiatives. 

Opportunities to Support School Meals for All

  1. Share your support on social media. Use this toolkit!
  2. Support School Meals for All in the California budget. Include your organization as a supporter.
  3. Join the School Meals for All Coalition: Add your organization’s name and logo to School Meals for All communications and commit to ongoing advocacy and partnership in this effort. Join our growing Coalition!

The California Legislature's proposal for School Meals for All would fund many of the ideas put forth by Senator Skinner’s Senate Bill 364: The Free School Meals for All Act. After passing with unanimous bipartisan support in the California Senate Human Services Committee and the California Senate Education Committee in April, this bill will be heard during the 2022 legislative cycle. The Center for Ecoliteracy is a co-sponsor of The Free School Meals for All Act along with the California Association of Food Banks, NextGen California, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, and TomKat Ranch.

"We are at a critical moment to invest in our children and their education. Senator Skinner’s School Meals for All benefits California families, schools, and agriculture. The time is now.” Adam Kesselman, Executive Director of the Center for Ecoliteracy

Press Coverage

CalMatters: Will California public schools continue free lunches for all?
Legislators want to spend $650 million a year to continue a pandemic program for free meals for all California public school students.

EdSource: Let's make free school meals for all permanent in California
Read school nutrition directors Stephanie Bruce of Palm Springs Unified and Trieste Huey of Fontana Unified in EdSource.

Fresno Bee: One of the best ways to help Fresno County schoolkids learn? Feed them free school meals
Read Genoveva Islas, founder of Cultiva La Salud in Fresno Bee.

EdSource: California moving to pioneer free meals for all students
East Bay senator’s bill could make California the first state in the country to provide universal school meals.

Press Releases

June 3, 2021: California Poised to Be First in Nation to Permanently Provide Free School Meals to All Kids

May 14, 2021: Governor’s May Budget Revise Embraces Universal School Meals

May 4, 2021: Free School Meals for All Considered in California State Budget

April 21, 2021: SB 364 Passes Senate Human Services Committee

April 19, 2021: School Meals For All Bill Would Nourish Students Beyond Pandemic

April 7, 2021: School Meals For All Passes Senate Education Committee with Unanimous Bi-Partisan Support

April 6, 2021: School Meal Program Directors, Teachers, Anti-Hunger and Health Advocates Join Calls for Free School Meals for All California Students

February 10, 2021: Bill Could Make California First in Nation to Provide School Meals to All Kids

Related Articles

Governor’s May Revise Budget Could Leave Out Half of California Schools

COVID-19 Increases School Meal Budget Deficits in California