Cooking Up Food Education

This year, it seems like September came even more quickly than it normally does. My hunch is that the back-to-school season snuck up on us while our attention was elsewhere. Many are distracted by the early start to wildfire season throughout much of California. And perhaps we’re all just a little fatigued by the way our lives continue to be impacted by COVID-19.

Another possibility is that distance learning makes the typical back-to-school activities seem less relevant. In my conversations with educators and parents alike, I’m noticing a yearning for more social connection from afar. That’s why I’m cooking up {virtual} food education for Food Literacy Month!

Amber Stott, Chief Food Genius at The Food Literacy Center in Sacramento (www.foodliteracycenter.org), was instrumental in making Food Literacy Month become reality. The California Legislature established Food Literacy Month on September 18th, 2012 when they signed ACR Resolution No. 161. The focus is to raise awareness about how to make food choices that are “good for people and good for the planet,” while also building community.

Educators who want to build a classroom food community do not need to be accomplished cooks nor expert gardeners. They simply need to be interested in using food as a way to connect learning to meaningful, real-world experience. Throughout the rest of the month, I’ll be posting food education “bites”–short videos, book suggestions, and tasting ideas–to a page dedicated to Food Literacy Month 2020.

Watch this video to learn how to set up a Triple Tomato Taste Test.

I’m also offering a FREE course called, “Connecting Home and School through Food Education.” Educators seeking continuing education can earn 1 CEU through Sonoma State University ($65).

Many teachers agree that food is a motivating force for learning. Mindy Bañuelos (author of last month’s “One Bite Salsa” post) plans to use food topics during community circle time. She hopes to provide parents with tasting instructions they can follow at home (on the weekend). When students return to their virtual classroom, they will discuss an experience they have in common, thus boosting reading comprehension of the book Chicks and Salsa.

Liz Corey, Third Grade Teacher at Canyon Oaks Elementary offers an enthusiastic testimonial for food education.

I learned that students get VERY excited when they work with food. Food brings students together and they learn about traditions and cultures as well.

~ Liz Corey, Third Grade Teacher, Canyon Oaks Elementary/NVUSD
Nothing is more aligned with the ideals of Food Literacy Month than eating local, organic produce while also giving back to the community!

In addition to raising awareness, I’m raising funds with the help of several sponsors. I’m partnering with Farm Fresh to You to earn 10% back on every CSA (produce box) purchased with the code FOODLIT20. I still frequent the Napa Farmers Market, but I do enjoy the convenience of having local, organic produce delivered to my doorstep each week! Consider signing up or sharing this opportunity with someone who would benefit from reducing the chore of grocery shopping.

Check out @schoolgardendoctor on Instagram for upcoming promotions from Napa Bookmine and Heritage Eats restaurant!

As a former classroom teacher, I can attest to the powerful pull food has for students. To me, incorporating {virtual} food education seems like a perfect way to close the “social” distance we all feel right now.

Be sure to reach out with ideas or questions about how you can cook up food education for Food Literacy Month!

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

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