On Earth Day, First Partner Heads to Local Farm

Jennifer Siebel Newsom speaking at the Earth Day event to bring attention to California Farm to School Program
Jennifer Siebel Newsom

First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom hosted an Earth Day celebration at Sacramento’s Soil Born Farms to bring attention to California’s Farm to School program. Her husband, Gov. Gavin Newsom, and their four children were also in attendance.

Siebel Newsom was the driving force behind the first-in-the-nation Farm to School program, which connects students with local farmers and locally grown food. That program has affected nearly 1.5 million students, 163 school districts and more than 50 farms since it began in 2021. Under Gov. Newsom, California was also the first state in the nation to implement a universal free-meal program for its 6.2 million public-school students.

earth day

Siebel Newsom told Sac Mag why the Farm to School program means so much to her. “I am a mother, and I care not just about my children but about our state’s, nation’s and world’s children. We have not been feeding our kids well in school—too much salt, too much sugar, not fresh, not prepared well, not even delicious,” she said. “We have an opportunity here to right this injustice and provide a sense of dignity and well-being for children in California’s schools.”

The Farm to School program also ties in with the governor’s sweeping efforts to confront climate change. “There are so many climate benefits,” Siebel Newsom said. “We’re teaching kids the connection between climate, agriculture and their health and well-being. They are going to be our future climate stewards. And that is essential, given the climate crisis we’re living in.”

food from the earth day event to bring attention to California's Farm to School Program

The event was held at Soil Born Farms’ Rancho Cordova property along the American River. It began with a riverside cleanup, with volunteers ripping out plant cages and irrigation lines and pruning mugwort along the riverbank. Gov. Newsom and the couple’s four kids participated in the cleanup.

earth day menu

That was followed by an al fresco lunch in a nearby farm field. The menu was selected by Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters, who founded the visionary Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley in 1995. Mulvaney’s B&L prepared the food, which included spring vegetables with green goddess dip, carrot soup with ginger, and crispy grilled chicken with beans and collard greens. Dessert was vanilla ice cream from Straus Family Creamery served with fresh strawberries and blueberries.

soup from the California Farm to School Program event.

Dignitaries in attendance included Waters, labor leader and activist Dolores Huerta, state Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, state Sen. Kevin McCarty and California’s Surgeon General, Diana Ramos.

jennifer speaking at the Earth Day celebration to bring attention to California's Farm to School program.

For more information about California’s Farm to School program, go here.

table arrangements at the event