Current Issues

Farmers' Markets

Farmers' markets provide wholesome, fresh produce and products to the public, especially in communities where food deserts exist. Because of their nonprofit status, PTAs can help organize certified farmers' markets for their school communities. Always refer to the current PTA Insurance Loss Prevention Guide.

USDA Establishing and Operating a Community Farmers' Market

USDA Certified Farmers' Market locator

California Farmers Markets


Weight of the Nation series

School Gardens

School gardens are living classrooms that include curricula and experiences for healthy lifestyles, math, science, health and nutrition education and, yes, even art. Discover the numerous benefits of gardens and the amazing personal satisfaction for students and adults alike, achieved through the magic of gardens.

California School Garden Network, curricula, grants, ideas

Healthier Generation Garden Toolkit

American Heart Association

California Foundation for Education in the Classrooms

Starting a School Garden (video 06:38)
A fun video with nuts and bolts details on how to lay the groundwork for a new school garden.

Composting at Crawford High School (video 02:41)
Paid garden interns at San Diego's Crawford High School learn about composting and growing food.

The Edible Schoolyard Yields Seed-to-Table Learning (video 07:04)
Berkeley's Edible Schoolyard is an incredible program that helps urban middle school kids grow their own lunch.

History of School Gardens (Library of Congress) (video 17:46)
A great (if long!) video from the Library of Congress about the history of the school garden in America.

Edible Schoolyard
This searchable website includes a network of school gardens, kitchens, and lunch programs worldwide. All their resources freely available.

School Wellness Councils

Healthy children are better learners. Although this is a commonly held belief, it is only recently that schools and school districts have worked to create a coordinated and more comprehensive approach to address barriers to learning. A coordinated and more comprehensive approach enables students to achieve their highest potential.

Policy development via legislative change occurred through a federal requirement that all school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program must have, and implement, local wellness policies with the goal of promoting better nutrition, physical activity, and wellness. Educational trends also support the expansion of local wellness policies to address additional physical, mental and psychosocial needs of students.

The parent/community group includes parents, students and representatives of the school food authority, the school board, school administrators and the public in the development of the student wellness policy. In addition, persons who provide services for a myriad of health issues are also often included on the SWC.

Benefits of a Student Wellness Council

Schools and school districts who look seriously to their SWCs for thoughtful guidance regarding student wellness issues and the link to learning find that there are important outcomes for the school/community as well as for students and staff.

These outcomes are particularly powerful when the SWC is also integral to school improvement planning. Such councils have the following benefits:

  • Increase parent and community involvement in the school;
  • Maximize strategic use of community health resources;
  • Generate support for the school/district in developing healthier school environments;
  • Provide a mechanism to research the improvement of school health policies and programs; and
  • Provide citizenry with opportunities to learn about school and health/learning issues.

SWCs impact student environments and student behavioral outcomes. When SWCs are integral to school improvement planning and collectively lead to address student health issues they:

  • Increase school attendance;
  • Decrease discipline problems;
  • Improve graduation rates;
  • Lower the incidences of tobacco and alcohol use;
  • Increase participation in physical fitness activities;
  • Increase interest in healthier diets; and
  • Lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.


Local School Wellness Policy Resources
Visit this webpage for informative and useful resources identified by the California Local School Wellness Policy Collaborative, including California State PTA. This information is hosted by Team California for Healthy Kids.

California School Board Association

California Department of Education

American Cancer Association

Parent Nutrition Education Toolkit, Dairy Council of California

California Action for Healthy Kids

School Wellness Recognition Program
Cosponsored by PTA, American Cancer Society and California Action for Healthy Kids
Apply by March 30

Team California for Healthy Kids

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has initiated the Team California for Healthy Kids to promote healthy eating and physical activity throughout the day, every day, in schools, before and after school agencies, early childhood programs, and communities. The campaign focuses on making healthy choices the easy choices.

Rigorous research confirms the clear connection between health, learning, and attendance:

Healthy children are:

  • more successful in school,
  • miss fewer days of school,
  • are more attentive and well-behaved, and
  • are more likely to graduate from high school and go to college.

Health disparities contribute to the achievement gap

The goals for the first two years of the campaign are to:

  • Increase physical activity, especially moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) throughout the day, every day, in schools and communities.
  • Increase access to water and fresh foods, particularly salad bars.

Team California for Healthy Kids Resources and Upcoming Events

Water in Schools

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