Food education is not mandatory in U.S. schools, but many great programs exist, including those sponsored by Nourish, Farm to School, The Food Trust, The Edible Schoolyard Project and Common Threads.
Research from organizations such as the Children’s Food Trust shows that improving our children’s diet now—and for the rest of their lives—means teaching them about food and giving them the skills they need to cook healthy meals from scratch. Food literacy helps children to make better food choices and reflect on their choices’ ecological and social implications, as Kirk Bergstrom, executive director of the Nourish initiative writes.
This map from Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Food Day and Jamie Oliver Food Foundation USA highlights examples of food and nutrition education activities in schools across the country, from mandatory nutrition education to hands-on programs where kids can touch, feel, taste and cook food.
From California to Virginia, programs are sprouting up that teach kids the importance of choosing nutritious, responsibly raised food. Like in Arizona, where children tour farms. Or in Delaware, where children grow gardens as part of an integrated health and science curriculum. Or in Montana, where farmers make classroom visits to talk about how they raise their food. These programs help children consider the issues of where their food comes from, how it was grown and how it came to them.