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Commitment to Sustainability

Farm to Cafeteria

Dr. Stewart Slafter, Director for the SHS Farm & Gardens

One of our chief purposes is to teach students how to be stewards of the earth's resources. We're teaching young people about sustainability and how they can grow food and know about every step of the process, so they understand it can be continued on a permanent basis.

Organic Garden

Maintained and operated by Sacred Heart students and faculty year around as part of a curricular program, the 40,000 square-foot garden encompasses a wide variety of vegetables and herbs for use in the campus cafeteria, for local food donations, and sold at the campus farmer’s market.

SHS is the first school in San Mateo County to be approved by the Department of Environmental Health Services Division to use campus-grown produce in onsite dining. Campus provider Epicurean has also partnered with SHS to demonstrate farm-to-fork programs for local chefs, and to instruct younger students--through the immediate preparation of foods following harvest--about healthy eating.

Olive Harvest

Over 50 heritage olive trees estimated to be more than 100 years old line the campus along its western border on Elena Avenue. Since 2009, the school community has come together in early November to harvest the olives that are then pressed into a premium olive oil, bottled, and sold as a fundraiser. Learning how to organically cultivate the trees and produce a high quality olive oil, understanding what makes an olive oil extra virgin, and determining what factors affect its taste are all part of the lessons learned in the process from tree to table.


Populated by both furred and feathered animals, the SHS farm provides opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience with cycles of food cultivation, production, and consumption. For example, the seven nanny goats provide milk that is converted to cheese or caramel and sold at the farmer’s market; are distributed around campus to graze down abundant foliage; and droppings are collected and used to fertilize the organic gardens.


Each week, students compost nearly 600 pounds of food scraps from the cafeteria, along with all the newspapers from the school's library and the white paper towels used on campus to be turned into rich nutrient mulch for the gardens. In the cafeteria and throughout campus, a robust recycling program is in place to dispose of paper, plastic and metal products in an environmentally friendly manner.


In the dining halls recycling and composting is front and center. Three containers are setup to handle recyclables, compostable materials, and trash. Every effort is used to keep the environment in mind; most take out containers and plates are recyclable and plastic silverware is made from cornstarch.

Sacred Heart Schools Atherton

Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton

150 Valparaiso Ave
Atherton, CA 94027
650 322 1866
Founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart, SHS is a Catholic, independent, co-ed day school for students in preschool through grade 12