The American public school system is made up of over 97,000 schools serving more than 50 million children, making it the largest restaurant chain in the country. The combined buying power, distribution, and influence on the next generation has great potential to shift the food system to support our planet instead of damaging it.
Our food system is responsible for roughly one third of all greenhouse gases. From farming to processing, packaging, and transporting, each step increases our carbon output and continues to damage our atmosphere and ecosystems. Highly processed foods are energy-intensive to produce, often packaged in plastic, and can contain unhealthy chemical additives. The damaging effects of climate change are felt worldwide and have adverse effects on the environment, human health, and the food system.
For example, California is experiencing record heat waves. Fire season is becoming less of a “season” and a more frightening multi-season reality. The mountain snow-pack, which provides one-third of California’s water supply, remains devastatingly low as the state remains in a continuous drought. Across the country, we find the opposite extreme. The south continues to endure unpredictable and catastrophic hurricanes and flooding. These severe weather patterns and increase in natural disasters decimate crops and reduce water used for livestock and irrigation. It’s clear that the climate crisis demands immediate action.
Eat REAL is working with public school districts to change our food system for the better. Our program encourages menu planning and ingredient sourcing that minimizes the environmental impact of food production, including local, sustainably grown produce and seasonal ingredients. When implemented at scale, all these practices have a powerful impact on undoing the damage.
This month, we’re raising $200k to support school districts in climate action and to support the next generation of eco-activists. To further increase our impact, Each donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $40k. Join us, and donate today!