Lori Davis founded Sanzuma in Marin County in 2012. As a result of generous donations, Sanzuma began by delivering solar ovens to small villages in remote regions of Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Mexico. In fact, the name "Sanzuma" is based on our two initial locations: San Rafael, California, and Montezuma, Costa Rica. San + zuma = Sanzuma.
These ovens, allowed villagers to cook food without cutting down trees for wood, make income, and purify their water -- All without electricity or propane! Their forests would stay intact, and they would not have lung problems and burns from cooking over a smokey fire. As we expanded our solar oven program to other villages, we saw an urgent need for a basic, sustainable healthy food system paired with nutrition education.
Being true to Sanzuma's motto of, "Your health should not be a reflection of your economic status”, we took a closer look and found the same challenges existed in Marin County. Thus, we began developing our School Farm-to-Cafeteria program. Since 2013 we have converted many existing school gardens into producing farms, taught thousands of nutrition classes while educating the students how to grow their own food. The bounty from the gardens is then processed through the San Rafael City School lunch program for their salad bars. This is all done through an environmental lens.
Sanzuma has fostered deep partnerships with Health and Human Services of Marin, The Kaiser Foundation, Giving Marin, and many others. With these partners, Sanzuma started the Farm to Student Collaborative. As a group, we have vowed to do whatever it takes to increase awareness & implement an equitable food system at all Marin County Schools through programs that are possible within each school’s constraints.
Images from Sanzuma's starting days.