Food Literacy Center was founded in 2011 to educate children on how food impacts their health. We teach children in Title 1 schools cooking, nutrition, gardening, and active play to improve our health, environment, and economy.
For over a decade, Food Literacy Center has provided successful after school programs to Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) elementary schools. In Sacramento, 40% of children suffer from childhood obesity or are overweight. This directly increases their risk for Type 2 diabetes. Diet-related chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes put individuals at higher risk of severe illness. This prevalence is higher among African American and Hispanic children from lower-income families. Children from lower-income households are two times as likely to be obese than children from higher-income households and are more likely to experience a lower quality of life as adults, including poorer health, educational attainment, and employment outcomes.
The majority of the children we serve are food and nutrition insecure, a form of toxic stress. Food insecurity is also associated with adverse behavioral and academic outcomes among children. Now more than ever before, our students need social connections to survive and thrive. We combine positive, stable relationship-building with skill-building by delivering hands-on, health-focused programs. We help build resilience, helping students learn to cope with hard times and develop healthy eating habits by role modeling healthy behaviors and consistently showing up for our students year after year, even through the pandemic during school closures.
Food Literacy Center serves elementary schools located in the Sacramento Promise Zone, a federally designated high-need neighborhood. USDA identifies these neighborhoods as food deserts, 82-100% participate in free/reduced lunch programs, and eat 3 subsidized meals per day in school. Food and nutrition insecurity remain at a record high in the communities we serve. Our approach to education has not changed; it is now more critical! We combine immediate food assistance with resilience skill-building. We engage the students we serve, allowing their needs to determine our strategies.