Friday was the last day of the California Food Literacy Center’s third year of classes at the Capitol Heights Academy in Oak Park–and what better way to end it than to have 135 kids show off their knowledge of food literacy through cooking, singing, and dancing.
“We’re having a little celebration today because this is year three of the kids being in the Food Literacy class,” explained Amber Stott, class instructor and founder of the California Food Literacy Center.
The CFLC is a nonprofit that creates programs to educate and inspire children in a positive and fun way to eat healthy food. Their focus is K-6, low-income schools in the Sacramento area. As a result of the program, children learn fruit and vegetable appreciation, how to read nutrition labels, basic cooking skills, and the environmental impacts of their food choices.
One student, Jasmine Tran, said she “learned how to make delicious food and learned facts about every single food in the whole world.” She said her favorite food is strawberries.
Matthew Castaneda explained that learning about plants helped him know how and what to eat. “It was real helpful because I got new facts about food I didn’t know,” he said.
The CFLC found that after just three months of food literacy education, 70% of students request the foods they tasted in class, including broccoli, celery and oranges.
Debe’None Laron Johnson, who had the chance to make a pancake and pizza with Castaneda, said he had fun in the classes and that it changed the way he eats.
“Fiber helps get fat out of the body,” he explained.
The youngsters gave final presentations through song, dance, drawing and more. They showed off their culinary skills by making healthy snacks and made garden herb bouquets to take home. Tomato starts were also given to students to take home so growing and eating healthy foods could become a family affair.
At the classes end, students were given a completion award, which they proudly displayed.
The California Food Literacy Center was established in July 2011 to inspire low-income children to make healthy food choices through food literacy education. The nonprofit also runs the Food Literacy Academy, which trains community members as food literacy teachers. To date, the nonprofit has 60 active volunteers and serves 2,400 kids annually.
The power of education shows by the impact the program has on students. After just three months, 92% of kids say healthy food tastes good and 75% say it matters where the food comes from. Additionally, 88% of children understand how to read a nutrition label.
To learn more about the California Food Literacy Center, visit their website at www.californiafoodliteracy.org.