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San Diego Unified Expands Farm To School Food Program

San Diego Unified Expands California Farm To School Food Program

San Diego Unified School District wants its students to remember cafeteria food fondly, so changes are afoot.

San Diego Unified School District's locally sourced food program has expanded into more than 220 district schools.

The program, called California Thursdays, started at 20 schools one year ago. District schools serve fresh food grown in California to students eating in cafeterias every Thursday.

District officials announced on Tuesday the program's expansion and discussed its benefits.

Gary Patel, director of food and nutrition services for San Diego Unified, said buying local is better for student health and the economy.

Patel said the program seeks to "buy as much local produce as we can to support our local economy. This is what it’s all about. Supporting your neighborhood, supporting your community.”

Superintendent Cindy Marten said serving fresh, locally sourced food is a new way of thinking about school cafeterias.

“We realized that we can do fresh food, it can be local and can actually cost less money than the pre-packaged, processed foods that we were typically serving,” Marten said.

Now, with California Thursday in every district school, Patel wants to make another big change.

“We’re in a movement to go to scratch cooking all together,” Patel said.

San Diego Unified’s goal is to have every student at every school eating fresh, cooked-from-scratch, California-grown food every day.

“No more cardboard pizza around here,” Marten said.

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