Food Literacy Center
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Organization Details


Food Literacy Center provides free food literacy education targeting children in low-income elementary schools. We teach twice-weekly online food literacy classes in response to the COVID-19 crisis with our cooking and nutrition program. Pre-COVID-19, we were delivering classes in schools, and we plan to do so again once schools are reopened. Students taste fruits and vegetables, learn how to read and cook from a recipe - and they have fun! These classes and activities benefit the children we serve by teaching them the habit of eating their vegetables, which helps prevent diet-related diseases in this high-risk audience. Maintaining good health is more important than ever as we are isolated at home.

In our program, students learn fruit and vegetable identification, how to read nutrition labels, cooking skills - and they have fun! We use positive reinforcement to get kids excited about fruits and vegetables. We cook culturally appropriate recipes and integrate hands-on STEM-based activities. Our students learn and explore health education and nutrition through science experiments, recipes, and real-world projects, like making recipes and planting food from seeds that demonstrate academic subjects such as science and math. Studies show that students who practice what they're learning in a hands-on environment can often retain three and a half times as much as opposed to just sitting in a lecture and listening.

We are unique in that we use positive reinforcement, getting kids excited about fruits and vegetables through culturally appropriate recipes, and hands-on activities. Our objectives are to improve children's knowledge, attitude and behavior toward healthy eating to prevent childhood obesity and other diet-related health problems.

We improve kids' knowledge toward healthy foods through hands-on lessons covering topics such as fiber, sugar, and fruit and vegetable appreciation. Through our STEM-based food literacy curriculum, students learn the difference between a fruit and a vegetable, where food comes from, how to read and cook recipes and nutrition labels, and learn new vocabulary.

We improve kids' behavior toward healthy foods through hands-on weekly cooking lessons where students learn basic cooking skills - like grating and measuring, and how to make recipes they can replicate at home with their families. Research indicates that cooking is the fastest method to improving kids' food literacy and consumption of fruits and vegetables. In the classroom, students learn simple ways to integrate fruits and vegetables into their diets, like swapping jelly for fresh fruit slices in their peanut butter sandwiches. All of our lessons are being rolled out online and made available for free to meet the needs of children who are out of school during the COVID-19 crisis.

$18,600 cost per school in-person
$16,050 cost to produce 14 online lessons

Program Successes
After receiving food literacy education:
• 92% have positive attitudes toward healthy food (attitude change)
• 84% of students know where their food grows (knowledge change)
• 70% of kids will go home and ask for the produce they tasted in class, bringing food literacy home to their families (behavior change)
• 1,000 households: average reach per lesson--and growing
• After making one of our signature recipes in class, fourth grader Estella beamed, "I went home and made the salad with my mom!" This is behavior change! We are changing kids' attitude, knowledge and behavior toward healthy eating.