The Tisch Food Center gives Masters and Doctoral students the opportunity to put research into practice, teaching food and nutrition education that links food, personal health, and the environment.
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The Program in Nutrition puts a strong focus on educating youth about food and our food system. We developed the EarthFriends program in the mid-1970s to be a model of food system sustainability education for children. Since its inception, EarthFriends has taught children, parents, and teachers that being an "EarthFriend" means, “eating foods that are good for me and good for the planet.” EarthFriends participants learn the seven chapters of the “whole story of food”: 1) growing, 2) transporting, 3) changing, 4) packaging, 5) buying, 6) cooking and eating, and 7) disposing or reusing. The EarthFriends room at Teachers College contains a full working kitchen where up to 30 students can visit, prepare, and eat a meal. At EarthFriends, meals are based around fresh, local, seasonal ingredients primarily purchased at farmers markets. While we currently do not provide ongoing programming in the EarthFriends lab, the facility and our curricula are used by several programs for children affiliated with Teachers College.
Teachers College and the New York City Department of Education opened Teachers College Community School in September 2011. It is a non-selective school that is intended to demonstrate how affiliation with a higher education institution can lead to effective implementation of comprehensive educational services in an urban, community public school. Since the school opened, our Masters students have provided weekly cooking and nutrition lessons that have the goal of helping TCCS students get excited about eating whole plant foods and bring the cooking skills they learn home to their families.