The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of School Planning & Management magazine.

Gold Star Foods Participates in Innovative 'California Thursdays' Program Bringing California-Grown Foods to School Lunches

Ontario, Calif. – Gold Star Foods Inc. (Gold Star Foods) today announced its ongoing collaboration with a number of school districts statewide and the nonprofit Center for Ecoliteracy on the forward-thinking initiative California Thursdays. California Thursdays serves healthy, freshly prepared school meals made from California-grown fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins to students statewide.

As a part of its commitment to student nutrition and Earth Day 2015, Gold Star Foods is using its position in the supply chain to provide California school districts with locally sourced ingredients for freshly prepared meals. Throughout the week, 42 school districts that collectively serve over 250 million meals a year will be celebrating California’s world-renowned foods, and its growers and producers.

“California Thursdays is a growing network of school districts who recognize the power of connecting delicious, fresh, and locally-sourced food to students around the state,” said Zenobia Barlow, executive director and cofounder of the Center for Ecoliteracy. “We hope to expand and strengthen this network by collaborating with companies like Gold Star Foods to support California’s green economy and sustainable food production system.”

On average, students in the United States receive 35 percent of their daily calories at school, making it extremely important that the food they do receive is nutritious. Gold Star Foods is nationally recognized for distributing and supplying flavorful, hearty products to students in nearly 500 school districts across the Southwest.

“It’s time to bring our students the best California’s growers have to offer,” said Sean Leer, CEO of Gold Star Foods. “We are proud to support California Thursdays and our local school districts by bringing California-grown ingredients from farmers and producers directly to lunch trays.”

Fresh, locally sourced meals are not only good for students, but an important tool in building a stronger local economy and instituting sustainable practices. According to a study conducted by California State University, Fresno, for every dollar spent on California agriculture, $2.56 is pumped back into the state’s economy. Sustainable and local food also minimizes wasteful packaging, and shortens shipping distances and costs. Three-quarters of all Gold Star Foods’ fresh bread and produce are manufactured or grown within a 250-mile radius of the company’s headquarters in Ontario, California.

What School Districts Are Saying about Gold Star Foods and California Thursdays

“California Thursdays, together with Gold Star Foods, gives Upland students, teachers and staff an opportunity to eat fresh fruits and vegetables grown within a close proximity” said Jamie Phillips, Student Nutrition Services (SNS), Director of Nutrition Services, Upland Unified School District. “Gold Star Foods also provides us detailed information about the local farmers which allows our students to learn about their communities and support a greener environment.”

“We are proud to begin our participation in California Thursdays, which promotes healthier, more locally sourced meals for our students,” said Trieste Chiquete, Director of Child Nutrition, at Fontana Unified School District. “Gold Star Foods has been a model company to partner with and provides our school district with a variety of fresh bread made from real California grown wheat.”

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