Hands-on food education

Last week, The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto debuted a short video about its amazing After-school Program at The Green Barn. View it here. The short (created by acclaimed Canadian filmmakers  Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier at Mercury Films) shows the program in action—with kids from nearby schools cooking, prepping, gardening, eating and talking about food. It looks like a lot of fun.

I remember taking a baking class at the YMCA when I was a kid—it was one of my favourites in a long string of after-school programs. I especially liked eating the finished product.

The difference here is the way The Stop integrates the fun of cooking and eating with gardening, composting and discussions about health, farming, social justice, the environment and more. They do it with drama games and lots and lots of hands-on activities. More and more I think that this kind of active, integrative approach that helps children makes the links between their personal choices and the world around them is the only way to make real change in kids’ attitudes toward food—and as a result change the food system.


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