Showcasing Food Education as a Food is Medicine Solution
A variety of stakeholders in the Food is Medicine space discussed policy and practice needed at the intersection of food and health, with more than 300 attendees in person and 2,000 more online from the public and private sector listening to the discussion.
We were invited to showcase our approach to utilizing teaching kitchens and school gardens in public schools to provide positive experiences with nutritious food to children. In the on-stage remarks by FRESHFARM Director of Education, Jenn Mampara, she shared how the FoodPrints program is aligned with the HHS principles of Food is Medicine in recognizing that nourishment is essential for good health, well-being, and resilience. “We believe that food education is a key component of successful Food Is Medicine programs. While right now we just work with elementary schools in DC, with funding and support, this model can work in schools across the country,” said Mampara.
Students from two FoodPrints partner schools joined us at the Summit to teach attendees – and members of Congress – about plant parts, whole grains, and how to make kale salad. They shared their excitement for new foods and the science of how foods grow and nourish us.
Prescribing healthy food to manage chronic conditions is powerful – but it only works if we provide the positive exposure to nutritious food that makes us receptive to purchasing and eating those foods. The young people who joined us at the Summit said it best:
“Carrots – they’re just the best! They’re very sweet, which you would not expect from something you pulled out of the ground. … “That’s what FoodPrints does: It helps you learn how to be more curious when it comes to food.” – Finn
“I don’t know about you, but I didn’t like kale. So when I went to FoodPrints, and we made kale salad, I thought, oh no, I’m never going to like that. But when I tried it, I liked it – it was so delicious! FoodPrints inspires people to like foods or try new foods. It also teaches kids when they grow up to eat healthy and make meals from scratch. – Maya
FoodPrints’ dream is simple but ambitious: In addition to Physical Education, Art, and Music, joyful food education must be a foundational component of education for all children. We hope that children across the country experience what students in our FoodPrints DCPS partner schools enjoy: joyful educational experiences that instill skills and desires to eat nutritious foods.