Garden to Café

AISD is taking an important leadership role in the school garden movement by partnering with students, community members, teachers and administrators to develop a Garden to Café program that extends the lessons learned in the garden to the school café. Garden to Café is about serving healthy, fresh, garden-grown foods to students through school meal programs.

The AISD Garden to Café Program will provide guidelines for schools to help gain approval to serve produce that is grown on campus. Schools requesting this approval will be required to designate a Garden Leader, who will follow the necessary standards and protocols to ensure the garden meets health regulations.

Ensuring the safety of the food supply is critical to student health. School and retail food facilities regulated under the Texas Food Establishment Rules are required to obtain their food from an approved source. Schools requesting to serve food grown in their gardens in the café will be subject to evaluation as outlined in the AISD School Garden to Café Conditions for Use of Garden-Grown Produce in School Kitchens. 

Gardens will be reviewed on:

  • Water quality
  • Protection from contamination
  • Sanitary practices 
  • Harvesting procedures 

Campuses requesting to participate in the Garden to Café program can begin the process by submitting the following document:

Austin ISD School Garden to Café Conditions for Use of Garden-Grown Produce in School Kitchens

Please allow 1-2 weeks for processing and approval.

Learn more ways to use school garden-grown foods in the Austin Area School Garden Collaborative Harvest Guide. The guide provides schools with alternative options to Garden to Café.  

Food Trucks

  • The Nacho Average and Food 4 Thought food trucks rotate among AISD campuses each day.   
  • Both food trucks serve reimbursable meals. Students dine at the trucks using their student meal account (free/reduced-price/paid) just as they would in the cafe.
    Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to view weekly schedules.
  • The expansion of AISD's food truck program is through support from Life Time FoundationWhole Kids FoundationGoogle and Austin Food & Wine Alliance.  
  • For information about food truck catering opportunities please contact Diane Grodek, AISD Sous Chef - Catering & Training, at


Clean Labels

AISD is committed to providing foods with the highest quality ingredients and has implemented a clean-label initiative, in partnership with the Life Time Foundation. The Life Time Foundation is helping schools remove what it calls the Harmful 7 from student breakfast and lunch menus.

The Harmful 7:

  • Trans Fats and Hydrogenated Oils
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Hormones and Antibiotics in Animal Production
  • Added and Artificial Sweeteners
  • Artificial Colors and Flavors
  • Artificial Preservatives
  • Bleached Flour

Local and Sustainable Purchasing

AISD Food and Nutrition Services makes it easy for students to eat locally and sustainably. The district offers at least three local menu items every day, features seasonal menus, and on Farm Fresh Fridays, all school cafés have produce from Austin's own Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

AISD is also a Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) pilot partner with the city of Austin. The goal of the GFPP is to improve regional food systems by utilizing meaningful purchasing standards in five key categories:

  • Local economies
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Valued workforce
  • Animal welfare
  • Nutrition