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California Food Literacy Center launches academy to train advocates

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Sacramento-based nonprofit California Food Literacy Center is launching its inaugural Food Literacy Academy in February. The call for applications is now open and the deadline is Monday, Jan. 28, at noon.

The Food Literacy Academy is an intensive 10-week training program that will prepare community volunteers to become certified Food Literacy Advocates, equipping them with the skills needed to teach food literacy in their community.

“Right now, demand for food literacy classes outpaces the number of trained teachers,” said Amber Stott, founder of California Food Literacy Center. “We created the Food Literacy Academy to build an army of certified advocates to be critical players in our region’s food movement.”

The courses will emphasize key food literacy lessons such as nutrition, recipe development, cooking in a classroom, food safety and our food system. The Food Literacy Academy also will prepare participants for classroom management and teaching to audiences of varying ages.

“Only 14 percent of Americans eat five servings of fruit and veggies daily, and in California, 38 percent of children are overweight,” said Stott. “Food Literacy Advocates play a critical role in educating fellow citizens on important food knowledge to help them make healthier choices.”

Classes will begin Wednesday, Feb. 6, and will be held every Wednesday night from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for 10 weeks, including a session on Saturday, Feb. 23. Graduates are expected to annually provide 100 hours of volunteer service back to the community on food-related issues. The cost of the training is $250, and a limited number of scholarships are available. For more information about the program and to apply for the academy, visit Food Literacy Academy.

The California Food Literacy Center was established in July 2011 to help kids improve their knowledge, attitude and behavior toward food through community food education. The organization empowers students in grades K-5 to explore new foods; learn to cook healthy, sustainable snacks; and make smart choices. Students learn fruit and vegetable appreciation, how to read nutrition labels, basic cooking skills and about the environmental impacts of their food choices.

The California Food Literacy Center’s efforts are yielding positive changes in perceptions of healthy food among youth. Before the organization began its food literacy curriculum, 82 percent of students in grades K-1 at Capitol Heights Academy said that healthy snacks did not taste good. After one month of food literacy education, 92 percent of the kids replied yes when asked the same question. For more information about the California Food Literacy Center and how to get involved, visit www.californiafoodliteracy.org.

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