Ann Cooper Cares A Lot About What Kids Eat for Lunch

Ann Cooper

As the head of nutrition for Berkeley, California schools, Ann Cooper serves organic, regionally sourced and sustainable meals to lots of lucky children. She has a front line view of the daily battle to keep kids healthy, and also of the enemy, the processed-foods industries that sometimes seems to want to wrap every single thing that children eat in a fried coating and then a plastic bag. As the director of nutrition services for the Berkeley (California) Unified School District, she’s an outspoken activist for serving fresh, sustainable food to kids.

Cooper’s influential program in Berkeley involves kids in every stage of the food they eat, from growing to disposing of it. And along the way, eating some delicious cafeteria lunches. She’s also recently become one of the most enterprising members of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, launching to give schools the resources and support they need to transform their menus and provide balanced, healthy meals. In line with that effort, she is partnering with Whole Foods on the Great American Salad Project (GASP), which will create fresh salad bars in over 300 schools around the U.S.

She’s the author of several books, including Bitter Harvest, an examination of the food chain, and her latest, Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children. Her lively website,, rounds up recipes, links, and resources for food activism.

Watch her presentation at the TED Talk

About Marion Witte

Marion Witte was born and raised on a farm on the prairies of North Dakota. It was there that she acquired her Midwestern work ethic and her philosophy of helping others. Marion enjoyed a successful career as an entrepreneur, and upon selling her various business interests she began pursuing a life of philanthropy. She is passionate and outspoken about the need for radical changes in the way we view children and parenting. Her memoir “Little Madhouse on the Prairie” relays the story of her life, and it is the basis of her commitment to this work. She founded and manages the Angel Heart Foundation and its sister organizations “Next Generation Parenting” and “Brave New Leaders.”

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3 Responses to Ann Cooper Cares A Lot About What Kids Eat for Lunch

  1. Brian says:

    This is awesome. Having a greenhouse and agricultural program in schools would provide multiple benefits to the students from learning how to grow fruits and vegetables, to a business aspect of providing a required amount of quality food to the cafeteria, to having a healthier menu choice for all students. Definitely would have been a great alternative to my school cafeteria experiences of soda, greasy pizza, and Hostess pastries.

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