California was the first state to adopt a policy to provide school meals, free of charge, to all students after the federal COVID provisions expired this summer. Beginning school year 2022-23, California's Universal Meals Program for school children—also known as school meals for all—will continue to serve school meals free of charge to all students, as mandated on July 9, 2021 by AB 130 (McGuire). The University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nutrition Policy Institute received $2.4 million in one-time funding to evaluate school meals for all in California as part of the 2022-23 California State Budget. NPI's Wendi Gosliner is principal investigator of the project in collaboration with research team members Lorrene Ritchie, Monica Zuercher, Christina Hecht and Ken Hecht. The NPI research team is collaborating with multiple state partners, including the California Department of Education and a variety of non-profit and community-based organizations that engage parents and students as well as national partners working to understand the roll out of school meals for all in Maine and Vermont. Preliminary results from ongoing NPI California school meals for all research has already informed CDE and other state and national school meal stakeholders about the opportunities and challenges as well as resources needed to provide healthy and appealing school meals to all students.
Author - Policy Analyst
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist
Editor - Project scientist