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Let’s Bring Food Education to EVERY School

I’ll never forget the first time I cooked with a homeless family. I was working for a nonprofit that helped homeless moms find jobs and homes with their kids.

We were making homemade snacks for a special event. I brought the ingredients and supplies. It was a simple recipe, and I assumed it would take no time to whip up. At the time, I had no idea of the statistics:

Two generations of Americans do not know how to cook.

As the moms helped me read through the recipe, one of the first tasks was to measure one cup of milk. One mom splashed milk into the measuring cup I handed her. It wasn’t even close to the one-cup line.

I had to remember that cooking wasn’t an innate skill. I learned it at the knee of my mom, aunt and grandma. Yet, not everyone grew up this way.

Cooking is a lost skill, and because of this, we’re more reliant on processed foods than ever. This trend is leading to unprecedented rates of obesity among children and adults.

That’s why I founded the California Food Literacy Center in 2011. I wanted to help children return to the critical skill of cooking—and help put an end to the childhood obesity epidemic. By developing healthy eating habits while they’re young, we’re helping children grow up healthier.

Getting kids cooking can be a fun, hands-on first step to food and nutrition education. We know that kids who learn to cook love doing so, and what’s more we know that when kids learn about food and nutrition they are more likely to try new foods and eat more fruits and veggies!

That’s exactly why the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA) and Food Day started the ‘Get Food Education in Every School’ campaign in the U.S. In 5 months, over 70 organisations have signed up to support and amazing stories of real food education and hands-on cooking with kids have been shared. California Food Literacy Center is proud to be among those organizations.

If every child had the opportunity to learn about, grow and cook food and understand the implications of food waste on the wider community, they would have the knowledge and tools to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. Studies show that:

The more children learn about food and nutrition, the more likely they are to eat fruit and vegetables.
The more children cook and prepare fresh food from scratch, the more likely they are to appreciate healthier and more varied ingredients.
The more children plant and harvest fruit and vegetables, the more motivated they’ll be to eat them also.

Schools, together with local communities and families, need to be at the heart of food education, to teach children about food, where it comes from and how it affects our bodies and therefore, to put the tools of prevention in the hands of children themselves.

With Food Day coming up on October 24, it’s a great opportunity to start the conversation about food education, and Food Day this year has a special focus on getting cooking. Find out more and get involved here.

If you haven’t already signed up to join the essential mission of reversing these trends and creating a food literate society you can sign on to support and share your belief that food education should be available for every child, in every school in America.

Get Food Education in Every School started as an initiative to raise awareness about the importance of food education, build a broad base of support and decide on next steps to advance the issue.

California Food Literacy Center is a proud partner of this work. In fact, we are launching a major fundraising campaign to enable us to bring our food literacy education to 5 more Sacramento schools by January 2014.

Want to be part of the effort to bring food literacy to EVERY school?

Here’s how you can help:

Purchase tickets to this tasty event at Ten22 on October 22. 100% of the price comes back to our nonprofit. Have fun & help a good cause all in one night.

Attend Food Day events at CSUS on October 24 and become informed about the issue of childhood obesity. Then help spread the word.

Make a donation today to be part of this critical growth.

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