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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #22-15
March 9, 2022
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Names Alice Waters Newest California Education Ambassador

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today proudly recognized Alice Waters—chef, author, restaurateur, food activist, and educator—as an Ambassador to California Education, during National School Breakfast Week.

Waters and Thurmond visited Michelle Obama School in the West Contra Costa Unified School District earlier this week, where they helped launch Project Cereal External link opens in new window or tab., an initiative with partner Conscious Kitchen, that is one of the nation’s first programs to feed students organic foods daily.

Waters joins distinguished Education Ambassadors Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dolores Huerta, Dr. Karen Korematsu, and Betty Reid Soskin in demonstrating outstanding dedication and contributions to support the education of California’s students.

“I’m grateful to have a role model like Alice Waters, who has for decades championed edible schoolyards and educating students about sustainable agriculture and our climate crisis,” Thurmond said. “She’s proof that our food and food systems can be used as tools for educating our youth and to create positive change in our communities.”

“I’m honored to be named an Ambassador to California Education,” said Waters. “My complete focus is on Edible Education in the state of California. Children deserve to be nurtured in body and mind, treated with dignity, and shown that they are valued.”

Waters has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades. In 1995, she founded the Edible Schoolyard Project External link opens in new window or tab., which advocates for a free, regenerative, organic school lunch for all children and a sustainable food curriculum in every public school. Her work with the nonprofit combines her perspectives as a trained Montessori teacher, fervent activist, gifted chef, and champion of sustainable agriculture.

Waters has been Vice President of Slow Food International since 2002. Her honors include election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007; the Harvard Medical School’s Global Environmental Citizen Award, which she shared with Kofi Annan in 2008; induction into the French Legion of Honor in 2010; and induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017. In 2015, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama, proving that eating is activism and that the table is a powerful means for social justice and positive change. Waters was most recently awarded the honor of “Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” (Order of Merit of the Italian Republic) in 2019.

Waters is the author of 16 books, including New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II;The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea; and a memoir, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook. Her newest book is We Are What We Eat: A Slow Food Manifesto.

The culmination of Waters’ lifetime of work is the founding of the Alice Waters Institute for Regenerative Agriculture and Edible Education (AWI) in partnership with the UC Davis School of Education External link opens in new window or tab.. Waters and the AWI seek to profoundly change the way food is conceived, sourced, and served in our public schools to better nourish our children and to address our climate crisis through school-supported regenerative agriculture.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, December 26, 2023
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