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Partner Spotlight: Conscious Kitchen and Revolutionizing School Lunches

conscious kitchen

About Our Partner: Conscious Kitchen

At U-Konserve, our initial mission of protecting the planet has grown into an entire lifestyle of producing less waste and bringing awareness to the growing movement to reduce single-use plastic. We believe that organizations committed to this movement need support. That is why we’re a member of 1% for the Planet and pledge to donate at least 1% of our annual sales to non-profit organizations that benefit the environment.

1% for the Planet is a network of 5,000 environmentally conscious members and brands, which represents industries and causes that share the same values of environmental sustainability, good corporate citizenship and responsibility.

Now, in partnership with Beam, a company which aims to shift $10 billion to high-impact nonprofits, our customers can participate in how we at U-Konserve donate. When you make a purchase on our website, you’ll get a notification to choose a nonprofit. Then U-Konserve will donate part of your total, at no cost to you. Right now, when you check out at ukonserve.com, we will donate 5% of the sale to one of our partners of your choosing!

One of our partners, Conscious Kitchen (CK), is an extensible and economical model designed to provide children with healthy meals that will reduce preventable disease and build community. A project of Turning Green, Conscious Kitchen utilizes kitchens as hubs, and aims to help accelerate the transition of farmland to produce a diversified and environmentally friendly organic supply chain.

How it began

Conscious Kitchen began in 2013 in Marin City, California, a food-insecure area nestled in one of the most affluent counties in America. More than 95% of Marin City students qualify for free-and-reduced government-subsidized school meals and 88% of students in this community will be the first in their families to graduate from high school.

Conscious Kitchen helped Bayside MLK Academy in Marin City transition from pre-packaged, processed school food, to meals prepared with fresh, local, organic, seasonal, nutritious ingredients. In partnership with the Sausalito Marin City School District, Executive Chef Justin Everett of Cavallo Point Lodge, and with support from Good Earth Natural Foods, Conscious Kitchen set out to change the paradigm around school food.

Guiding the program: FLOSN

Along with the enduring pledge to nourish students with healthy, ethically sourced, sustainably grown food, and organize a movement of school and community-supported agriculture, the heart of Conscious Kitchen is the acronym FLOSN: fresh, local, organic, seasonal, nutritious.

    • Fresh: Through Conscious Kitchen, student meals are prepared daily with fresh produce. Hands-on experiences in kitchens and gardens help students form connections to their food, and food has the highest nutritional value when it travels straight from the farm to a student’s plate. Plus, feeding students unprocessed ingredients helps them avoid consuming harmful chemicals and preservatives.
    • Local: Conscious Kitchen also maintains that ingredients are purchased from local farmers and ranchers or from fair trade farmers through partnerships with local distributors. Prioritizing local purchasing helps bolster regional economies via reliable demand, and simpler distribution helps reduce costs.
    • Organic: Conscious Kitchen uses all USDA Certified Organic ingredients. CK partners must avoid using substances such as synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, GMOS, hormones and antibiotics which might harm air, water or soil.
    • Seasonal: Conscious Kitchen’s purchasing decisions are based on what’s available now. Seasonal produce is better tasting, harvested at peak, and grown closer to home, which benefits health and ecosystems, and helps students foster an appreciation for year-round variety and unique flavors.
    • Nutritious: Conscious Kitchen chooses ingredients, recipes and menus that set students up for success. Nutritious meals are necessary for the proper growth and development of young bodies and minds.

Learn more about Conscious Kitchen’s recent work in schools and with children by reading about Project Cereal here.

The model’s impact

Conscious Kitchen has revolutionized culture across communities through schools and dining halls. Teachers from CK partner schools have reported better classroom attention, boosted attendance, and elevated leadership skills exhibited by students. Data also shows significantly less food and packaging waste, as well as increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, and a more equitable school food environment, such as reduced stigma surrounding the school meal program.

Conscious Kitchen, U-Konserve and you

Conscious Kitchen believes access to healthy food is more than a privilege; it’s a right. By ensuring all children have healthy, organic food available in school and community settings, Conscious Kitchen aims to overcome health disparities that disproportionately and unfairly affect children living in low-income households. CK also seeks to reduce the stigma associated with participation in the National School Lunch Program.

School-backed ecological agriculture helps strengthen farms, ranches, and communities, while bolstering the connection between school, community, and the social and cultural relevance of food.

That is why we at U-Konserve invite you to learn more about Conscious Kitchen and how their work is aligned with our own values of environmental conscientiousness and a zero-waste lifestyle. You can also further support Conscious Kitchen by donating to them directly.