School Food Transformation

Sierra Harvest is committed to improving the experience and quality of school meals, thus providing more children with the nutrition they need to support academic performance and physical, mental and social well-being. Our services include assistance in sourcing local, pesticide-free foods, professional development for culinary teams, marketing and promotion of fresh ingredients, and advocating for healthier food choices. 

 “If we provide our students with daily access to fresh, nutritious foods, we will experience the impact of healthier, happier kids who are ready to learn and give back to our community.”
– Aimee Retzler Co-Director, Sierra Harvest

  • What’s for lunch at Deer Creek Elementary? Mary’s non-GMO chicken drumstick, whole-wheat California roll, rice pilaf, and a medley of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Getting back to scratch cooking

Sierra Harvest is collaborating with all nine school districts in Western Nevada County to bring fresh, scratch-cooked school meals to 10,000 students through a more sustainable model that features local and regional foods and reduces waste. The first step will be a thorough assessment conducted by the Chef Ann Foundation, the nation’s leading nonprofit supporting school districts to help schools create healthier food and redefine lunchroom environments.

Learn more about the collaboration here:

School Food Press Release

A Track Record of Success: Foothills Fresh

Sierra Harvest facilitated a pilot program beginning in 2017 in which the Nevada Joint Union High School District produced scratch cooked meals serving whole foods to students in the Nevada City School District. 

The Foothills Fresh program yielded two important findings:

1) kids will eat more food and participation will increase (doubled in this pilot) when students are fed whole foods in an appealing manner.
2) meal program profits increased 300% thereby busting the myth that schools cannot afford to serve kids real, scratched cooked meals.

Learn more about this award winning program

In the News:

Fresh face brings fresh food to school district
(The Union, March 3, 2020)

Organization strives to bring healthy, affordable options to Nevada County students
(The Union, Sept. 20, 2018)