A happy and healthy Food Day last week at Hoover Elementary in West Oakland! Taste tests, free pumpkins, and a delicious locally sourced lunch highlighted the day. See more photos here.
Currently, the Marcus Foster campus is vacant with construction fencing along the perimeter. The perimeter fencing hosts a mural project, completed in collaboration with Attitudinal Healing Connection, to help beautify the site during the site's transition. To keep the site secure and safe, OUSD security officers conduct security checks on the site and the building. OUSD has also advised the Oakland Police Department, and the police officer assigned to Beat 6X, Officer Kirkland, that the building is vacant and that there is on-site security. If you observe anything that you would like to report, or have other concerns about the security of the building, please contact OUSD Sergeant Antonio Fregoso by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If it is an emergency, call 911.
This October 20 NPR story, "As Schools Buy More Local Food, Kids Throw Less Food In The Trash," covers the national momentum behind school districts serving meals using food grown locally. "The schools reported that when they served local food, their kids ate more healthful meals and threw less food in the trash." Listen here.
Anthony Forrest of Planting Justice, Sharon Robinson from the Oakland Public Education Fund, OUSD's Charles Cole III, and Kala Cuerington from the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley spoke on the "School Garden & Farms: Growing Our Future" panel last weekend at the Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference. The annual conference aims to "enhance the critical relationship between food and health in the Black community by empowering growers, chefs, eaters and activists." Thanks to all who took part!
The Center — OUSD's Central Kitchen, Instructional Farm, and Education Center — was featured in the Sunday, October 11 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.
"If we instill in these kids from elementary school what it means to eat nutritious foods they’ll grow up with that mind-set,” says West Oakland resident and parent Renia Webb in the article. “We need to change the way this generation is feeling about food."
Read the piece here.
At a recent Community Engagement Advisory Committee meeting, a resident from the neighborhood asked OUSD which public agencies and officials received the Mitigated Negative Declaration and Initial Study. The list of agencies is here, and located on page 159 of the full document.
Our community and our students face a health crisis. County-wide, 47% of low-income households are food insecure; within the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) over 70% of our students qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch, which by program definition means that these same students live in low-income households and are at high risk for being hungry. The population groups most at risk for adverse health outcomes associated with poor nutrition nationally are also the dominant population groups within our school district.
Rethinking School Lunch Oakland (RSLO) works to fix this. RSLO will implement a food system network connecting nutrition, education, and community programs at each of the District’s school site kitchens, school gardens, and produce market stands. At the hub of this network will be the Central Kitchen, Instructional Farm, and Education Center (The Center). The Center will host traditional classroom space, a culinary arts classroom, and an outdoor instructional farm, all of which will contribute to substantial Linked Learning & Career Pathway opportunities. Children District-wide will benefit from hands-on instruction that links academic concepts to culinary, botanical, and agricultural training and will learn about nutrition, the chemistry of cooking, hospitality and business management skills. The Center will also provide a weekly produce market for the community around it. We expect that this Center, with a near-acre instructional farm, will create a draw to the neighborhood. But most important, the Center will allow us to provide fresh nutrient-rich meals, prepared the same day at individual school sites, to 94% of our schools District-wide and nearly all of our Child Development Centers.
The Oakland Unified School District has released documents related to its environmental review of The Center project, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). These documents include an Initial Study, which details the evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project and determination that the project will not have a significant effect on the environment. The project incorporates mitigation measures that will reduce any potential environmental impact to a less-than-significant level. The Oakland Unified School District has released the Mitigated Negative Declaration and Initial Study (MND/IS) for public review. You can access these documents here.
The proposed MND/IS is available for review at the following locations: Oakland Unified School District Legal Department, 1000 Broadway, Room 680, Oakland, CA 94607, daily from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM or by appointment (call 510-879-8535). The proposed MND/IS may also be reviewed on the project website: www.ousdthecenter.org, West Oakland Branch Oakland Public Library 1801 Adeline Street Oakland, CA 94607, and Hoover Elementary School 890 Brockhurst Street Oakland, CA 94607.
Any interested party may comment on the project or the proposed MND/IS. All comments received will be considered by the District prior to finalizing the MND/IS and making a decision on the project. Comments should focus on the sufficiency of the proposed MND/IS in discussing possible impacts on the physical environment and ways in which potential adverse effects might be minimized in light of the MND/IS’s purpose to provide useful and accurate information about such factors. Comments must be received no later than October 28, 2015 and should be sent in writing to the following address: Jacqueline Minor, General Counsel Oakland Unified School District 1000 Broadway, Suite 680 Oakland, CA 94607 Fax: 510-879-4046 Email: Jacqueline.Minor@ousd.org
If we want all our students to thrive, we must create the conditions for success. Equitable access to healthy food is critical to this. School meals are one important way we can increase our students’ access to healthy food, regardless of demographics, background, or zip code. We need your support Rethinking School Lunch Oakland and the Central Kitchen, Education Center, and Instructional Farm.
Please let our children know they have your support by submitting your public comments by the October 28 deadline.
Additional Background Documents On Selecting the Marcus Foster Campus as the Project Site Are Available Here!
In response to a public records request for reports from experts that conclude Marcus Foster School is the "best site" for the proposed Central Kitchen Project, the District recently provided a number of documents, including a report prepared by Marshall Associates. (These documents are available here.) This request for information also asked the District to provide copies of the Request for Proposals used to hire the consultants who ultimately authored the pre-site selection reports for the proposed Central Kitchen Project. In response to this question, the District stated, "The contract for the Marshall Study included in the public records act response was entered into by the Center for Ecoliteracy and Marshall Associates and was paid for with grant support from the TomKat Charitable Trust and the S.D.Bechtel, Jr. Foundation." The District has now obtained a copy of the MOU between the Center for Ecoliteracy and Marshall Associates. We are making that MOU available here as well as the MOUs between the District and the Center for Ecoliteracy.