This is school lunch as a fine dining experience, with fresh flowers on each table and the chef sitting down to personally explain his menu; one he's made from scratch.
"For today's lunch we're having Italian herb roasted chicken," said the chef.
No "mystery meat" here! Marin City School District says it's nation's 1st to serve 100% organic, non-GMO lunches! pic.twitter.com/ObVpq1gC7f— carolyn tyler (@ctylerabc7) August 27, 2015
And everything is 100 percent organic and non-genetically modified. The Marin City School District is said to be the first in the nation to offer that.
"It's literally the best we can get, that's the starting point," said Judi Shils, director of Turning Green. "That's how we can begin to start making bodies healthy and minds healthy."
Turning Green is a nonprofit that launched the Conscious Kitchen at Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in 2013 and this year added a second site. Some of the produce comes from the school's own garden.
"It gives you more energy throughout the day," said one student.
Another added, "It's like, more delicious."
Where else can you talk to the chef about the school lunch he just made from scratch with 100% organic food? pic.twitter.com/SMAv7JnhvR— carolyn tyler (@ctylerabc7) August 27, 2015
Because many of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, the federal government picks up the tab for the meals. But the Conscious Kitchen also has an influential local partner. Justin Everett, the acclaimed Executive Chef at Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, consults on menus and mentors some of the students.
"Food speaks to everybody and that's this great way that we can connect with kids," said Everett.
For some, it's a learning process.
"I didn't like everything," said one student.
But most like the switch from pre-packaged foods.
"It's fresh, doesn't have pesticides in it," said another student.
A healthy breakfast and a snack are also served and educators say they've seen improvement in behavior and grades.