December is National Pear Month


December is National Pear Month! Have you tried a grilled cheese sandwich with pear? Try this fun and healthy twist to a classic, along with these other fun ideas for how to enjoy pears!

Holiday Break Grocery Shopping Fun

Grocery Shopping

With the kids home on holiday break, they will be joining in on the grocery shopping fun!  Get them excited about selecting healthy options with this great bingo game!

December 4-10 is Handwashing Awareness Week

Washing Hands

Clean hands save lives! This holiday season, food safety and family health is important.  December 4-10 is Handwashing Awareness Week.  Check-out these tips to help you and your family stay healthy this season.

November 25th is National Eat With a Friend Day

Family eating together

November 25th is National Eat With a Friend Day!  Grab your friends and make a healthy potluck sharing your favorite healthy, go-to foods!  Create healthy habits in your friend circle!  Carry this idea throughout all the holiday festivities! What will you bring to the table?

November 14th is National Guacamole Day


Get ready!  It’s guacamole time!  Join the country and celebrate National Guacamole Day on November 14th!  Celebrate this national favorite by learning more about avocadoes!  How does guacamole fit into your MyPlate?

National Sandwich Day is November 3rd


Did you celebrate National Sandwich Day on November 3rd?  What is your go-to sandwich?  Ask the kids to help prepare their school lunches by building their own sandwich! Don’t forget those veggies!

Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) Food Day

Elk Grove Food Day

Every year, on October 24th, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy food and to push for improved food policies. Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets and food policies. This year Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) hosted a Food Day event on Monday, October 24th at Pleasant Grove High School. The goal of the event was to offer hands-on learning activities for high school students to participate in during their lunch break. 

Informational booths were hosted by agencies such as: Dairy Council of California, Sysco, Elk Grove Unified School District, FFA, UC Davis Center for Nutrition in Schools (represented by our own Chelsea Slatterly and Melanie Gerdes), and many more. Each booth focused on a topic that fell into one of five different categories which were: 1). Eat Real, 2). Mostly Plants, 3). Not Too Much, 4). Navigate the Environment, or 5). Be an Advocate. The event was a great success. The Center for Nutrition in Schools was pleased to be able to collaborate with various agencies to offer fun and interactive learning opportunities to high school students during their lunch break.

Vegetarian Awareness Month

Children eating

Take Meatless Mondays to a whole new level!  Venture out from your favorite meat dishes, and load up on more fruits and vegetables!  Celebrate World Vegetarian Day on October 1 by making a vegetarian dish for dinner!  To learn more about vegetarianism and veganism, read the Vegetarian Fact Sheet from UC Davis, Department of Nutrition.

Child Health Day, October 3, 2016

child playing game

Celebrate Child Health Day through engaging, interactive nutrition and food games, creating a healthy family meal, or going outside for some family activity fun!  Explore more about how to celebrate this day and how to keep children active and healthy with some new recipes, games, and resources to learn more about promoting a healthy lifestyle for kids on the USDA website.

National School Lunch Week, October 10-14

Children eating lunch

Celebrate National School Lunch Week with your children and their schools this week!  Learn more from the USDA website!  To learn even more, the School Nutrition Association website has more information, meal ideas, and how to get involved at your local school.

Family dinner

September 26th Family Day-A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children

What’s for dinner? It’s your turn to ask the children what is for dinner tonight! Pull out a family favorite dinner, or have kids make a new, healthy favorite! Keep the night going with some more family fun with some adult and children food and nutrition games! Maybe some inspiration for a new favorite recipe will come from a game or two! Explore some fun!

Fruits and veggies

Fruits & Veggies-More Matters Month

Make most of your plate centered around colorful fruits and vegetables this month! Experiment with new recipes or classic family recipes with a fun, healthy twist! Not sure how to get the kids involved? Start them off with some an interactive game for a family game night! Follow this link for more fruits and vegetable fun!


Better Breakfast Month

Celebrate the importance of starting the day off right this entire month! Get the whole family excited about waking up and starting the day off with a healthy breakfast! Check out these quick tips and fast breakfast ideas for a fresh, quick, and filling first meal!


August 27th Banana Lovers Day

Go bananas today for Banana Lovers Day! Keep the summer spirit alive with some new and old recipe favorites by adding some banana to your meals! Let your kids have some fun by creating a healthy after school snack, or healthy after-dinner beverage!

Family meals

Family Meals Month

August is Family Meals Month! Make the most of family time by getting the kids in the kitchen! Explore these child-friendly tips and menu planning ideas to get your kids excited about cooking dinner!

Ice cream

July 17th National Ice Cream day

Key recommendations from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include low-fat or fat-free dairy options. Enjoy at treat on July 17th, National Ice Cream Day! For more information on key recommendations of the 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, review the Center for Nutrition in Schools’ past webinar on the topic.


July 3rd-9th National Salad week

July 3rd – 9th is National Salad Week! Add some legumes, nuts, or seeds to your salad to increase variety and alternative protein sources. Southern Living magazine offers “68 Quick and Delicious Summer Salads." Challenge yourself to try a couple of these recipes this week!

July 4th fireworks

July 4th Independence Day

The Fourth of July is a day full of relaxation and outdoor barbeques. Be sure to exercise outdoor grilling safety while enjoying your holiday! Visit the US Department of Agriculture’s resource page.


National Blueberry month

Don’t forget to celebrate National Blueberry Month this July! Blueberries naturally contain the phytochemical anthocyanin, which has been shown to have beneficial health effects when consumed. For more information on anthocyanins, refer to our Nutrition Facts Sheet on Phytochemicals! You can also find more information on blueberries, including recipes, on the USDA website.


National Grilling month

July is National Grilling Month! In order to enjoy your outdoor grilling safely, visit the US Department of Agriculture’s resource page.


Celebrate National Dairy Month & National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month this June, 2016!

Not only is June the start of the summer season, but it's also National Dairy Month, as well as National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Celebrate this June by enjoying some Low-fat and Non-fat dairy options while also treating yourself to some cool and refreshing fresh fruits and vegetables!

Here's an idea! Try creating your own fruit and yogurt smoothie with fresh, in-season fruits or berries. You could also try making this fresh fruit salad with honey vanilla yogurt.

SNA Boot Camp

May 11th & 12th, 2016: Spring Industry Boot Camp

Register for the School Nutrition Association's Spring Industry Boot Camp in National Harbor, Maryland! This educational seminar is designed to help industry representatives, both new and seasoned, become informed of about the ins and outs of school nutrition. Seating is limited, for more information visit the Spring Industry Boot Camp Website.

Food Allergies

May 8-14th, 2016: National Food Allergy Awareness Week

This year's theme is "Food Allergies: React with Respect". Did you know that everyday food items such as tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans could cause severe allergic reactions in those with a food allergy? The goal is to spread awareness of the consequences of food allergy reactions and to help others identify symptoms and respond in emergency situations.
Visit the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) website for more information, resources, and ways to get involved.

School Lunch Hero

Celebrate National School Lunch Hero Day Friday, May 6th 2016

School Lunch Hero Day is designed to celebrate the hardworking school nutrition employees! School nutrition professionals make a difference, and this day aims to recognize all the ways they impact each child who comes through the cafeteria. More information about National School Lunch Hero Day is available online.

Orange Juice

National Orange Juice Day: May 4th, 2016

Did you know that 8 ounces of orange juice provides an excellent source of phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, and calcium if enriched? Enjoy a cup of orange juice for National Orange Juice Day on May 4th!


May, 2016 is National Bike Month!

Harness the benefits of physical activity by participating in National Bike Month this May! National Bike to Work Week will be held from May 16th -20th, while National Bike to School Day is May 4th!

Veg Meals

Earth Day: April 22nd, 2016

Celebrate this Earth Day by consuming sustainable and plant-based food options! For more information on plant-based nutrition, review our past webinar Serving Vegetarian Meals in School Nutrition Programs (2016)


April, 2016 is National Soyfoods Month!

National Soyfoods Month is an excellent time to increase the variety of your protein sources. Try incorporating soy options like tofu, edamame, soy milk, or soy nut butter into your meals! Check out this recipe booklet, Simply Soyfoods, produced by the Soyfoods Association of North America for more quick and easy ideas.

2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 - 2020

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly published the 8th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines) in December of 2015.

For more information on the newly released edition, a webinar will be brought to you on April 26th, 2016 by the California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division, and the Center for Nutrition in Schools at the University of California, Davis. For more information on this upcoming webinar, visit our webinar page.

Wake up for school breakfast

National School Breakfast Week, March 7-11, 2016

Celebrate National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) 2016 with this year's theme "Wake Up to School Breakfast."

The goal of this special recognition for USDA's School Breakfast Program is to increase school breakfast participation at school sites across the nation. Spread the word that school breakfast provides a sunny, energizing start to the day by recognizing NSBW in your district or cafeteria. Make breakfast fun by celebrating with special menu items, events, or decorations!

For further information and resources please visit the School Nutrition Association web site and the USDA Healthy Meals Resource System

Team Nutrition

USDA Team Nutrition Webinar September 16, 2015

Team Nutrition is celebrating its 20th Anniversary! They will be sharing resources for the 2015-2016 year during a webinar on Wednesday, September 16th from 12 - 1 PST.

For 20 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Team Nutrition initiative has provided free nutrition education resources for schools. This webinar will discuss innovative ways elementary and middle school educators can integrate nutrition education into core subjects like math, language arts, and science. New teaching resources available from Team Nutrition for the 2015-2016 School Year will be shared.

Guest Speakers

Alicia White, MS, RD and Maya Maroto, EdD, MPH, RD USDA, Child Nutrition Programs Anne Hoffard and Deb Mortensen, Elementary Educators, Iowa Storm Lake Elementary School Becky Reid, Extension Agent, Kansas State University Research Extension, Kansas Whittier Elementary School


Educators, administrators, parents, dietitians, school nutrition professionals - and anyone else who is interested in student wellness and success!


To participate in the webinar on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015, please register here. After you register, you will receive an email with login information for the webinar.


Maya Maroto, USDA/FNS, 703-605-3210 or

National School Lunch Week October 13-17, 2014

Celebrate National School Lunch Week (NSLW) 2014 with the theme of “Get in the Game with School Lunch.” It’s about encouraging kids to find a balance between healthy eating and physical activity. This year’s theme recognizes the importance of eating well and getting active! Get started planning your celebration with free tools and resources on the School Nutrition Association website.

News Video

Shaping Healthy Choices Program Spotlighted on KOVR 13 News

The Shaping Healthy Choices Program was recently spotlighted on the Sacramento KOVR13 News program.  The news story, titled "UC Davis Researchers Help Students Eat Healthier, Make Better Decisions" highlighted the recent success of the program in several participating schools. 

SHCP researcher Dr. Rachel Scherr was interviewed along with students in a participating school who discussed the impact the program has had on their health. 

View the news story online

Child Gardening

Children planted, harvested, and tasted many different types vegetables, like kohlrabi, shown here.

UC Delivers - Improving youths’ nutritional knowledge and skills by discovering healthy choices

The Issue

The dietary behaviors of children and adolescents in the United States are a major public health concern. Children and adolescents are not consuming enough nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, and many of these youth do not meet the recommended amounts of nutrients such as fiber, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D. The prevalence of childhood obesity is also a concern, with approximately 32 percent of youth, ages 2 to 19, overweight or obese.
School programs that integrate instruction on nutrition and physical activity, and promote changes in the school environment (e.g., access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria), along with parental and community involvement are effective strategies to improve children’s and adolescents’ dietary behaviors. Furthermore, including garden-based activities at school helps improve nutrition knowledge and vegetable food preferences.

However, classroom-based nutrition interventions must support mandated state and national education standards in order to be readily adopted.

What has ANR done?

UC Cooperative Extension specialists in nutrition and youth scientific literacy worked with graduate and undergraduate students, and the director of the School Gardening Program to develop a garden-based nutrition curriculum for the school-based Shaping Healthy Choices Program (SHCP). The Discovering Healthy Choices curriculum utilizes inquiry-based approaches and experiential learning. The lessons help youth understand nutrition concepts (e.g., how nutrients support and maintain health) and learn to make evidence-based food choices (e.g., comparing food labels). The program includes hands-on garden-based activities and addresses California Common Core State Standards in math and language arts.

The research team worked with nutrition, family, and consumer science advisors in Sacramento and Stanislaus counties to implement Discovering Healthy Choices to 300 fourth-grade youth in two schools. This included garden design and construction, instruction of youth in the classroom and in the garden, and take-home family extension activities.

The Payoff

Youth's nutrition knowledge improves with Discovering Healthy Choices

Students who participated in Discovering Healthy Choices activities as part of the SHCP demonstrated a measurable increase in nutrition knowledge. The curriculum is currently under review by the California Department of Education, Healthy Kids Resource Center and will be made available to elementary schools, the UC CalFresh Program, and the California 4-H Youth Development Program.

Clientele Testimonial

“I now know how to read a nutrient label. I even learned how to make new foods.” – Fourth-grade student
“Our family is trying to eat healthier by cooking dinner ourselves.” – Fourth-grade student


Jessica Linnell, Department of Nutrition, UC Davis, 530-752-3387
Martin Smith, Departments of Population Health and Reproduction, and Human Ecology, UC Davis, 530-752-6894 or 530-752-7035
Carol Hillhouse, Agriculture Sustainability Institute, UC Davis, 530-752-7033
Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, Department of Nutrition, UC Davis, 530-752-3817
The Shaping Healthy Choices Team

UC Delivers is a publication of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

Children participating in SHCP program

Childhood obesity drops with new school nutrition program, study shows

The percentage of overweight or obese children in test schools dropped from 56 percent to 38 percent over the course of a single school year, thanks to a new nutrition program  developed and tested in the classroom by nutrition researchers at the University of California, Davis.

The Shaping Healthy Choices Program fits into the new Common Core educational standards.

“The education component of this program is intended to help children develop nutrition-related problem solving skills,” said co-author Jessica Linnell, a senior doctoral candidate in the UC Davis Department of Nutrition. “We think that these skills, combined with knowledge about foods, may be critical in order for children to make healthy choices.”

Researchers say the program could be adopted nationally at little cost to schools. The program was pilot-tested for this study in schools located in Sacramento and Stanislaus counties. Study findings were reported recently during the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting.

"When we designed the study, we anticipated short-term outcomes such as kids having more knowledge of nutrition or being able to identify more vegetables,” said Rachel Scherr, assistant project scientist in the UC Davis Department of Nutrition and one of the study's lead investigators.  “We always had a long-term goal of decreasing body mass index, but we didn't anticipate that it would happen in such a short timeframe, so we are thrilled."

In a randomized control study, the researchers found that fourth-graders who participated in the nutrition program ate substantially more vegetables and lowered their body mass index during the school year that the nutrition program was implemented.

Senior author Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, a Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist and co-director of the UC Davis Center for Nutrition in Schools, said that the project could not have been possible without the work of a highly interdisciplinary team, including collaborators from University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources; the UC Davis departments of Nutrition, Human Ecology, Population Health and Reproduction, and Plant Sciences; the UC Davis Health System, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, Foods for Health Institute and Agricultural Sustainability Institute; and the University of Utah Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Media contact(s):

Shaping Healthy Choices Program

Shaping Healthy Choices Program Spotlighted by UC Delivers

The Shaping Healthy Choices Program (SHCP) is a multi-component, school-based intervention, which was recently spotlighted in the University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR) UC Delivers campaign.  UC Delivers is a collection of examples showing how ANR is making a difference for Californians.

Preliminary analyses show that children classified as overweight or obese dropped from 56 percent to 38 percent during the one year SHCP was implemented in Sacramento County.  The full UC Delivers article spotlighting SHCP is available online.

Nutrition to Grow On

Nutrition to Grow On Updated & Now Available

Nutrition to Grow On, a garden-enhanced nutrition education curriculum, has been updated and is now available as a free downloadable resource.

Nutrition to Grow On is an innovative curriculum created by CNS Co-Director Dr. Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr and Jennifer Morris for grades four through six that offers teachers a direct link between the garden and nutrition education. Nine lessons are designed to teach children and their families about nutrition by relating each lesson to a garden activity. The curriculum uses the garden to integrate disciplines, including science, mathematics, language arts, history, environmental studies, nutrition and health, while reinforcing the California academic content standards. This is a free, downloadable resource.


Training and Education Needs Assessment (TENA) Survey Final Report available

The TENA Survey was conducted by the University of California, Davis, Center for  Nutrition in Schools in partnership with the California Department of Education, Nutrition  Services Division. This research evaluated the training, resource, and professional  development needs of child nutrition program staff in school districts, charter schools, after school programs and residential child care institutions (RCCI) that participate in  the NSLP. This survey of directors, managers, nutrition specialists,  supervisors, and child nutrition staff was conducted in late 2011. The  Final Report is now available.


Connecting the Dots

"Connecting the Dots”, a preschool resource guide for nutrition education, is now available online

In conjunction with California Department of Education, Drs. Rachel Scherr, Marilyn Briggs, and Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr have created a set of nutrition competencies and a competency-based resource guide.  Connecting the Dots is now available as a free downloadable resource.

Dietary Guidelines

Society for Nutrition Education (SNE) applauds release of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Society for Nutrition Education (SNE) applauds the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines serve as the foundation of all federal nutrition policy and help guide consumer decisions about healthy eating and physical activity. “These guidelines are critical and set the stage for a host of policy, environmental, and consumer changes and improvements,” says SNE President Tracy Fox, MPH, RD of Food, and Nutrition & Policy Consultants (FNPC). “The guidelines provide the scientific evidence for nutrition educators to help translate the detailed information into consumer-oriented messages and creative approaches to help Americans - especially children - lead healthy lives.” SNE also would like to recognize the enormous task completed by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). This committee was established to advise the Secretaries of USDA and HHS and provide recommendations to update the Guidelines. “The DGAC worked tirelessly to recommend changes by all segments of society-from parents to policy makers and everyone in between-to take responsibility and play a leadership role in creating environments and policies that make the easy choice the healthy choice, to help current and future generations live healthy and productive lives,” says Fox. “Nutrition educators are well-positioned to take these guidelines and turn them into fun, achievable goals for consumers, as well as advocate for policy and environmental changes at the community, state and federal levels.” The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is available online.


CNS researchers implement garden-enhanced nutrition education among developmentally disabled

On May 3rd, 2010 the Sacramento Bee published an article spotlighting the activities of the Team Davis program.

Members of Team Davis are participating in a pilot study which seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of Nutrition to Grow On for improving food choices and nutrition knowledge among children and adults with developmental, cognitive and/or physical disabilities. Participants are growing their own vegetables and learning about nutrition.

Let's Move

First Lady Michelle Obama Announces “Let's Move” Campaign

On February 9, 2009 First Lady Michelle Obama announced an ambitious national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight and unveiled a nationwide campaign – Let’s Move – to help achieve it. 

The Let's Move campaign will combat the epidemic of childhood obesity through a comprehensive approach that builds on effective strategies, and mobilizes public and private sector resources. Let’s Move will engage every sector impacting the health of children to achieve the national goal, and will provide schools, families and communities simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better, and get healthy. 

To support Let's Move and facilitate and coordinate partnerships with States, communities, and the non-profit and for-profit private sectors, the nation’s leading children’s health foundations have come together to create a new independent foundation – the Partnership for a Healthier America – which will accelerate existing efforts addressing childhood obesity and facilitate new commitments towards the national goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation.

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. One third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives; many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. A recent study put the health care costs of obesity-related diseases at $147 billion per year. This epidemic also impacts the nation’s security, as obesity is now one of the most common disqualifiers for military service.

“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake,” said Mrs. Obama. “This isn’t the kind of problem that can be solved overnight, but with everyone working together, it can be solved. So, let’s move.” 

Let's Move is comprehensive, collaborative, and community-oriented and will include strategies to address the various factors that lead to childhood obesity. It will foster collaboration among the leaders in government, medicine and science, business, education, athletics, community organizations and more. And it will take into account how life is really lived in communities across the country – encouraging, supporting and pursuing solutions that are tailored to children and families facing a wide range of challenges and life circumstances. Find out more by watching the “Let's Move” Kick-Off online or by visiting the Let's Move web site (Outside Source).

We Garden

California Continues to Lead the Way in Edible Garden Movement

Since Shriver’s involvement, the number of edible school gardens in California have doubled from 3,000 to 6,000

Building on her continuing commitment to the creation of edible school gardens as a learning experience for children and the important role of food, First Lady Maria Shriver will planted the first edible garden at the California State Capitol grounds in May, 2009. “WE Garden in Capitol Park” will serve as a way to educate and inspire Californians about the important lessons gardens teach students, children and people of all ages, lessons rooted in nutrition, healthy living, agriculture, science, history and service. Particularly, the WE Garden project will provide ample hands-on educational experiences for the hundreds of school children that visit the Capitol each year, through the creation of a series of ten individual lesson plans to provide for ongoing instruction.

“Over the years, I have seen how gardens have positively transformed students, schools and communities in California. Gardens are a wonderful resource, and I truly believe in the life lessons they teach and the lives they touch -- and that every school and community should have one. What we’re doing in California goes beyond symbolism, we are truly creating a comprehensive environment for learning all around this garden,” said First Lady Maria Shriver. “I’m so thrilled that since our announcement in March, California’s efforts have inspired other states to plan for and plant an edible garden in their capitol grounds.”

“We want Californians to be healthy, eat healthy and get fit. And this new garden is a step in that direction,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Children and visitors alike will now have a chance to learn about California’s agricultural legacy and what makes our crops and our food the very best in the world.”

“Edible gardens provide a productive food source for our communities as well as a fantastic learning opportunity,” said A.G. Kawamura, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. “Visitors to the Capitol will now see the edible garden and go home with the idea of how a family garden can nourish their daily lives.”

Since it was first announced in March, planning for the Capitol Park garden project has been underway and includes the following components:

  • “WE Garden in Capitol Park”- The 800 square foot demonstration garden is located in a planting area on the east end of Capitol Park. The garden will include 16 different varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers, including garbanzo beans, sweet peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, radishes, beets, strawberries, chives, thyme, parsley, basil, sage, rosemary, sunflowers and marigolds. The garden will focus on planting seasonal crops; therefore the plants will be constantly changing. The plants have all been donated by local school and community gardens most of which have been grown from seeds since March to prepare for planting in May. The project has received commitments from partners for future supply of plants, at no cost to the state. Grover Landscape Service Inc. donated 40 yards of Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI) compost to amend the soil. The garden and plants will be easily identifiable through the generous support of Western Growers Foundation.
  • “WE Garden” Lesson Plans – The California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, along with other garden-based learning organizations, developed ten lesson plans that allow educators to transition the hands-on, real world experiences learned in a garden, into in a traditional classroom setting. Activities will demonstrate overarching garden themes, such as Nourishing and Nurturing Soil with Compost, Following Food from Farm to Fork, Tasting and Testing the Harvest, and Observing and Identifying Garden Pests. Adaptable for students of all ages, the WE Garden lesson plans meet multiple California State Board of Education Content Standards for first through sixth grades, including English-language Arts, Science, Mathematics, Health Education, Visual and Performing Arts, and English Language Development. The We Garden Lesson plans are available to download at no cost.
  • Maria’s 10 Lessons of a Garden - This brochure will be distributed to all visitors and tour groups that visit the California State Capitol, to inform them about the WE Garden in Capitol Park, including the history of agriculture on the capitol grounds, and the life lessons gardens instill from healthy eating to active living, service, the environment and more.
  • Community Partnerships - “WE Garden in Capitol Park” transcends public-private partnerships by working with organizations from schools, to non-profit organizations, businesses and community groups. The event, produced in partnership with Western Growers, includes a food resource fair known as “Food Alley,” bringing together over 30 partners from all aspects of food and nutrition, a farmer’s market sampling, senior voucher program through CDFA and other resources that demonstrate educationally how food is selected, grown and prepared in the following categories: Grow It, Know It, Cook It and Get It.
  • Water Conservation –The garden illustrates water saving solutions that can be easily adapted in any garden. Dr. David Zoldoske, California State University, worked with the California Department of General Services on the design of two types of water conserving irrigation systems. They were installed in early May, after donation by Ewing Irrigation. Half of the garden demonstrates a rotating low precipitation nozzle that has shown a potential water savings of up to 30%. The other half will demonstrates a drip system that provides precise watering and minimizes water loss via drip pressure compensating emitters that deliver water evenly and turns off and on at the same time.
  • WE Garden for all – In partnership with the California State Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) program and California’s K-12 High Speed Network (HSN), First Lady Maria Shriver led a discussion with students via videoconference on Thursday, May 21, bringing the garden to the far reaching corners of California.


Some of Maria Shriver’s most notable actions to further California’s commitment to sustainable edible gardens and in promoting healthy living include:

  • Inspiring the creation of the CSGN, where she has served as honorary chair for the past 5 years;
  • In partnership with CSGN, CDFA, California Department of Education and CaliforniaVolunteers, doubled the number of edible school gardens from 3,000 in 2004 to 6,000 in 2008;
  • In 2007, encouraged every school district to take advantage of $15 million in non-competitive, non-matching grant funds for school districts, county offices of education and charter schools who were interested in starting or sustaining a school garden; and
  • Since 2007, built 29 playgrounds around the state that also demonstrates an edible garden.