Food Literacy Center
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Organization Details


We teach weekly 45-minute food literacy classes delivered over 14 weeks in afterschool programs where we rotate children through our cooking and nutrition program. In our classrooms, students learn fruit and vegetable appreciation, how to read a recipe, cooking skills - and they have fun. 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 low-income 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 weekly 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' attitude through weekly "Produce of the Day" tastings. Studies show it takes kids 10-15 tastes of a new food to determine if they like it or not. "Produce of the Day" empowers and inspires students to continually taste new fruits and vegetables, turning them into food adventurers. By repeatedly exposing children to a wide variety of new produce they begin to respond positively - even eagerly - to tasting new foods as they develop a palette for healthy produce.

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.

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)
• 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.
• Additional successes include reaching 400 kids weekly through our food literacy lessons and over 20,000 kids through summer reading programs in libraries.