Schools are uniquely positioned to implement strategies that have a broad reach to both generations by creating environments in which children can eat and learn about new healthy foods, while supporting parents’ access to nutrition education and food resources.



What is the EscWELLa Initiative?

Escuela means school in Spanish. The well in escWELLa represents how our work on this initiative centers health and wellness in school communities. The EscWELLa initiative was formed to better meet the health and wellness needs of North East Los Angeles schools. EscWELLa engages schools as community hubs, providing resources and education to all levels of the school community including students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Past EscWELLa include farm to school, school garden education and expansion, school food waste recovery, teacher training, and bilingual nutrition workshops for caregivers.


What is Farm to School?

Farm to School programs bring healthful foods from local farms to school cafeterias and provide students with related lessons on nutrition, agriculture, and gardening. These programs help children understand where their food comes from and the importance of supporting their local communities, while encouraging students to make healthy food choices a part of their everyday lives.

If you're interested in getting involved with Farm to School work in LA, consider joining the Farm to School & Garden Working Group with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.





What is Building Healthy Communities: Health Happens in Schools?

UEPI is part of the Building Healthy Communities, a statewide initiative of the California Endowment focusing on building health equity in 14 specific communities. UEPI participates in Building Healthy Communities in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, and serves as a member of the Health Happens in Schools working group. Health Happens in Schools focuses on creating healthy spaces within school campuses, and as a collaborative is pushing for the full adoption of restorative justice practices within the Los Angeles Unified School District. Our work specifically focuses on food as a health equity and social justice issue, and our activities include youth training and the establishment of food waste diversion strategies at Roosevelt High School.

Our partners:

Building Healthy Communities: Boyle Heights

Volunteers of America Los Angeles

Public Health Advocates

ready to Dig in?

Check out our Resource Library for resources, guides, and reports on these programs and our work in schools.

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Our Mission

With programming in the areas of schools, farmers’ markets, and the Occidental College community, we work with students, educators, advocacy organizations, and communities, to co-create adaptive strategies that build collective resiliency and achieve a more just food system.

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