Tag Archives: Food Is Elementary

Shameless Plug #3

My article, “School Food Reform, One No-Bake Tart at a Time,” marks my long-awaited (6 months–to be exact!) debut on The Atlantic Food channel. All of the time spent was worth it. The article discusses Dr. Antonia Demas’ Food Is Elementary program (which I also wrote about here) and its innovative integration of healthy USDA commodity foods. Here’s a snippet:

Using these healthy commodity foods, most of which would be prohibitively expensive if bought on the open market, is one factor that makes Food Is Elementary a cost-effective program. As Antonia Demas noted, “I think the commodity program, if used correctly and in conjunction with classroom-based education, could really be a way to solve health problems in this country.” Her integration of healthy commodity foods won Food Is Elementary a national award for creativity in implementing USDA guidelines.

I also visited a successful Food Is Elementary program, run by Catherine Dixon, at the Stadium School in Baltimore. Her students’ reactions to the class were pretty inspiring:

Perhaps the strongest insurance Food Is Elementary can have is enthusiasm from students—something Catherine Dixon’s program in Baltimore has managed to inspire. Her students unanimously told me her class was their favorite part of the day. “I like that it’s more cooking than working,” one student joked. Another explained, “I like that we get to chop things, and learn about the food and where it comes from—it’s like going to another culture.” And surprisingly, when asked what their favorite dishes that they made in class were, students tended to name the more exotic-sounding, gourmet fare: veggie burgers, sushi, and of course, that delectable raw fruit tart.

Read the full article–which includes a recipe for Antonia Demas’ raw fruit tart–here.


Shameless Plug #2

The second installment in this glorious series is an article I wrote for Zester Daily, a recently launched food news site that provides fresh and lively stories from around the globe. I signed on to be a regular contributor and published my first story, “Changing Baltimore’s Diet,” on veteran food educator Dr. Antonia Demas and her battle to reform students’ eating habits in Baltimore public schools. Here’s a quick excerpt:

Nearly 40 years ago, before “organic” and “farm-to-table” became buzzwords in the food community, Antonia Demas realized the importance of promoting nutritional education in schools. Her philosophy was simple: If students are taught about healthy food in a positive and engaging way, they will be more willing to eat those healthy foods, both in the classroom and at home.

That philosophy eventually developed into a comprehensive curriculum called “Food Is Elementary” — widely regarded by nutrition educators as one of the most effective approaches to encouraging students to eat healthier. T. Colin Campbell, a professor of nutrition and biochemistry at Cornell University, endorsed the program, saying Demas’ “curriculum ought to be in every school in the country.” To date, “Food Is Elementary” has been taught in more than 2,000 schools across the country.

Click here to read the full article. And please Tweet, Digg, Facebook “Like” or link! Thanks, readers!

Photo: Catherine Dixon, a food educator at the Stadium School in Baltimore, teaches Antonia Demas’ program “Food Is Elementary”