San Francisco, CA (March 28, 2018) – Eat REAL, as part of the REAL Food in Schools Collaborative, was one of six finalists to receive a prestigious Battery Powered grant for their childhood nutrition project Catalyzing a New Food Culture in Mt. Diablo Schools.  The Collaborative (comprised of Eat REAL, the nonprofits Life Lab and Wellness in Action along with Mount Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD)) was awarded $189,000 to integrate hands-on garden, nutrition and cooking education and REAL Certified healthy school food to support lifelong wellness and achievement for 32,000 students in MDUSD of Contra Costa County, California.

“Children who experience food insecurity cannot achieve their full potential. The Battery Powered community is proud to be supporting organizations that are ensuring that healthy meals are the norm rather than the exception for all children in the Bay Area.” commented Colleen Gregerson, Executive Director of Battery Powered upon awarding the grant.

Growing out of this groundbreaking public-nonprofit partnership, the two year project represents an innovative multi-channel approach to impacting change across several areas of the food landscape for the children of MDUSD.  Eat REAL will be working with Dominic Machi, Director of Food & Nutrition Services at MDUSD to assess, improve and certify food service across the 47 school cafeterias within the District.

“What I love about our program is the holistic, multi-faceted approach.  The REAL Food in Schools Collaborative includes a powerful combination of garden, classroom & cafeteria-based education on how to grow, prepare & cook healthy food” notes Larry Ruff, CEO, Eat REAL. “This grant will provide an important opportunity to demonstrate the power of Eat REAL’s scientific, evidence-based, integrated approach to changing our food system by increasing KNOWLEDGE about and ACCESS to REAL food.”

The REAL Certified program is a holistic nutrition and sustainability certification program for the foodservice industry developed by Eat REAL to encourage the use of nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits and whole grains; scratch cooking and minimally processed foods; healthier cooking methods and moderate portion size; unsweetened beverages and healthy children’s options; and more sustainable sourcing methods, including local and organic.  Chef Ann Cooper’s Boulder Valley School District in Boulder, CO was the first district to become REAL Certified in 2016.


Fueled by the Battery Powered grant, Eat REAL’s efforts as a member of the REAL Food in Schools Collaborative will provide an important step in expanding its programs to improve child nutrition nationally.


Learn more about the project here.


About Eat REAL

Eat REAL® is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit dedicated to transforming America’s food system and fighting diet-related disease. Launched in 2012, Eat REAL Certified is a nutrition and sustainability best practices certification program aimed at realigning the food industry’s incentives with consumers’ health interests. The organization has certified over 500 restaurants, corporate cafes and university and school dining services in 35 states, with financial support from the Tennessee Department of Health, the Park Foundation, the Mary Black Foundation, the Campbell Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President’s Grant Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation. More information can be found at


About Battery Powered

Battery Powered is a member-funded program and innovative philanthropic giving model of The Battery, a private social club based in San Francisco. The program is designed to help members explore themes, share ideas and activate their generosity to spark lasting change. Since its inception in 2014, Battery Powered has allocated over $12 million and awarded funds to 60 organizations that are making society stronger.


Media Contact: Beth Seligman