The Unity Charter School lunch program offers delicious meals that are vegetarian, zero-waste, freshly prepared, nutritionally balanced, with some organic elements.
Our mission is educating our students in the principles of environmental sustainability. It is our goal to teach students how to eat “further down the food chain” because much of the meat we consume is not produced in a sustainable manner. Vegetables and other plant-based foods can be directly harvested from the earth and served – basically earth to table. Eating vegetable and grain-based foods directly, rather than feeding them to livestock, is more efficient and therefore sustainable.
Eating lower down on the food chain will also conserve water and farmland, because it takes a tremendous amount of energy to raise livestock. It also prevents additional water pollution from factory farm fecal waste, and preserves the rainforest by lowering deforestation to create acreage used for raising livestock.
The Unity lunch program is designed to combat common food and ecological problems found today in our schools. We are concerned with the serious increase in childhood obesity and nutrition related illnesses, as well as the incredible haste and waste often associated with school lunches. Recognizing that the average school lunchroom experience (including poor-quality meals, shortened lunch periods, and excessive packaging and waste) often undermines important health and learning issues for our children, Unity has created a zero-waste, family style dining program. This approach offers solid life-lessons of nutrition and healthy eating habits for our children.
The school lunch served at Unity is strictly vegetarian, with some vegan, gluten-free and 100% organic alternatives. The milk served is hormone-free.
The kitchen does not serve any foods that contain peanuts or tree nuts. While the FDA requires manufacturers to label for the top 8 allergens, which includes peanuts and tree nuts (including coconut), it does not require them to state if their products are manufactured on the same equipment or in the same facility as the allergens. As a result, the Unity cannot guarantee that the food served is allergen free for those with severe allergies or for those that avoid shared equipment and/or facilities. The lunchroom does have one table that is identified as a peanut, tree nut free table. The remaining tables are not nut free and could have students eating products that contain nuts.
In keeping with our zero-waste policy, we use real ceramic cups and plates, cloth napkins and tablecloths and stainless steel utensils. This eco-friendly dining also lends itself to a more positive and pleasurable meal.
The children scrape leftovers into a compost bucket for later use as fertilizer in the school’s organic teaching garden.
Unity Charter School is dedicated to creating healthier lifestyles for our children through this program. The support and dedication of parents through donations and volunteerism is essential for its continued success.