What We Do

The Center for Ecoliteracy advances change in TK–12 education and school food systems to support students and the people who nourish them.

Staff Board Report


Our organization creates original resources, collaborates on advocacy, and cultivates a growing network of leaders in our California Food for California Kids® initiative. California Food for California Kids supports school districts in providing students with fresh, local school meals and educational experiences that connect the classroom, cafeteria, and garden. With over 130 public school districts across the state, the California Food for California Kids Network reaches more than two million students and provides one-third of school meals served in California each year.

Our 30-year history of successful systems change has resulted in hundreds of school districts serving more fresh and local school meals, thousands of educators teaching about sustainability and food systems, and millions of students accessing free school meals. In 2021, the Center for Ecoliteracy successfully advocated for California to become the first state to adopt universal school meals as a co-sponsor of the Free School Meals for All Act and a core member of the School Meals for All coalition. We are proud to be part of California’s leadership in transforming school food and recognizing the important role of school nutrition professionals.

The Center for Ecoliteracy holds strategic relationships with key state agencies, school districts, nonprofit organizations, policymakers, and leaders. With the understanding that individual efforts are amplified through connection and community, we seek to create a collective impact across California and the nation.

We have authored or co-authored nine books, including Transforming School Food Politics Around the World; Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World; Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability; and Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence. Our Rethinking School Lunch Guide has provided a planning framework for school districts nationwide. 

students looking at freshly picked carrot


We are dedicated to cultivating education for the sustainability of people and the planet.



We envision a world where all students experience and understand how nature sustains life and are inspired to live in ways that benefit people and the environment.

All schools can do this by committing to cultivating ecological literacy through transformational experiences in the classroom, cafeteria, and garden that educate students about the food system and its connection to the environment.



We pursue change in TK–12 education and school food systems to provide a more just, sustainable, and equitable experience for students and the people who nourish them. 

We recognize the harm that systemic racism, gender bias, and structural inequalities create in our public education, food, and labor systems, and strive to mitigate the health and educational inequities affecting low-income households and children of color. We amplify the voices of people who are marginalized and shape our work according to their messages. By listening and taking action to identify and include missing voices, we seek to shift power in both policy and decision-making. We are privileged to learn from our partners and will continue to grow and evolve our work to embody this commitment.



The Center for Ecoliteracy was founded in 1995 by Fritjof Capra, author and systems thinker; Peter Buckley, business leader, farmer, and philanthropist; and Zenobia Barlow, a pioneer in creating models of schooling for sustainability.

Today, our organization is led by Executive Director Alexa Norstad and includes former educators and school nutrition professionals, food systems experts, and parents. 

We are located in the award-winning David Brower Center in Berkeley, California. 


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