Since it's inception, 600 participants have taken Teaching Food and Nutrition for All, a professional development course for teachers and educators to deepen their knowledge of and confidence for teaching food and nutrition in the classroom and beyond.
In their words:
“I joined this course because I feel passionate about the need for children to be empowered to choose to eat nourishing, simple food. I teach cooking and gardening to children ages 4-8, and I see first-hand how motivated my students are to learn about and eat foods that they grow and cook themselves. However, I felt there were holes in my background knowledge, and I hoped to become a more effective educator by becoming more well-versed in the topics and methods of teaching food and nutrition. This course provided me with so many excellent resources and activities I can use with my students to inspire them and create supportive environments that will make it easier for them to make good choices around food.”
- Julie Berman, Gardening and Cooking Instructor, Beth El Day Camp New Rochelle, NY
“I find food to be the perfect medium to create conversations about issues of health, sustainability and social justice. Participating [in this course] has reconfirmed my perspective that health- and environment-related perspectives on food are incomplete without taking into account social justice as the foundation of how we approach the way our kids (and adults) eat. I have immensely benefited from learning about the history of food and nutrition education and about the frameworks that have been developed to help guide the study of food in the classroom and beyond.”
- Esther Seha, Student Success Coordinator & Social Science Specialist, Paladin Career Tech, Blaine, Minnesota
“I have a new understanding that what is taught about food at this age shapes future interaction. When we “inspire” and “motivate” students to make good nutritional choices for themselves, we are investing in their futures...After taking this course, I will look at my school environment in a new way. While we have great programs in place like the option for breakfast, free water at lunch, salads as a daily option, and a monthly food dispersion, we can still make more changes to benefit our students, such as additional fresh food options and curriculum promoting nutrition and its importance. As educators, our role does not simply end when a child can read a word or perform a math strategy. We are here to promote the “whole” child, shaping their minds and advocating for their physical well being. ”
- Clintona Richard, Reading Interventionist, Joseph C. Shaner Elementary School, NJ
“Since taking this course, I plan to change my health and wellness lessons to include more action plans, and reinforce the framework that was introduced in this course, so that students KNOW what to eat to be healthy, they have a WHY behind eating healthy and they know HOW to do it... It is our duty as educators to help students understand our food system and to take part in conversations that can influence policy change. Knowledge is truly power and I believe that many of those in our communities are not aware of all of the factors that influence what kids are eating in our schools and how that impacts the future of our country.”
- Kaley Feenstra,Health & Wellness Coordinator, Boulder, CO
“Being a farm educator puts me in a rather unique position to talk about nutrition, because food production is happening right in front of students’ eyes, and it can be a great tool to help them want to get involved… When nutrition is introduced to kids in a clinical way (as it often is) and they’re taught how many nutrients they should have every day, students lose their connection to food and instead only focus on the nutrients. Especially in New York City, where many people are far removed from the labor that goes into growing fresh food, it is especially important to highlight the importance of the work that goes into growing the foods that keep us healthy.”
- Alaina Pribis, Farm Educator, Queens County Farm, NY
“The course provides a hands-on approach to delivering that education to students so that they might make the necessary changes in their thinking about food, their relationships to it and their ultimate food choices for themselves and their families - creating the social change and mainstream shift that is vital if we are to sustain the planet for all life.”
-Lucia Ferrante, Science Teacher, Port Chester Schools, NY
"I love the idea of growing food, and in some way getting a garden experience in my classroom. The ideas of how to do this are greatly appreciated. Approaching the topic of food with students can be sensitive for some and this laid a foundation of research that is open and shows data to help others."
- Heather, Republic County High School, Kansas
"The instructor and teaching assistants are very passionate about the subject matter and it shows. With the knowledge I gained, I can implement a long-term nutritionally sound plan where I volunteer. Thank you - great course!"
- Ileana Diaz, PhD Candidate, University of Waterloo, Ontario
"I enjoyed this course very much! It was a little more work than I expected but I didn't mind at all because I learned so much. I appreciated learning about the relationship between global warming and food consumption and production. The videos were all informative and interesting. I also appreciated the vast amount of resources provided throughout the class. Evening office hours were helpful and also informative. The course has inspired me to to do more cooking with my young students and in the process teach them about making healthy food choices."
- Vicki Zarra, Highland Park, New Jersey
"Thank you for producing such an engagingly well-designed, accessible action plan for future nutrition teachers....[the course] offers recovering junk food Boomers like me deeper dives into the social justice and economic access issues related to maintaining and promoting healthy, sustainable food supplies for all. The work of China & Lucy has been top-notch, enthusiastic and professional! I thank you for assembling such a richly worthwhile class!"
-Michael, Volunteer, California
"Teaching Food and Nutrition for All" gave me practical and powerful skills to improve my teaching methodology. The course contains great learning activities that raised my inspiration to teach food and nutrition. Also, the course promotes the importance and the role of nutrition in personal health, ecological sustainability and social justice. In addition to this, the course has a great instructor and supportive course assistants."
- Luis, Nutritionist, New York City
"I really appreciated the information presented in the Teaching Food and Nutrition for All course this past summer. Not only was the material well organized and thoughtfully articulated, but it really helped me frame the nutrition work that I’m doing in my school and community. I love seeing how much our education is changing around food so that it is not simply a study of nutrients, but of the whole food system and how we are a part of it. This course was comprehensive and engaging. I’d love to dive deeper!"
- Anne, School Garden Network, California
Quotes and blogs have been edited for clarity and length. Click on participant names for original blog posts.