Professional Learning and Food Literacy in San Diego Unified School District

Nourish teamed with the San Diego Unified School District’s Professional Learning Department to create a program that offers food literacy resources to district educators.

How do you catalyze a district-wide food literacy program? Nourish began its partnership with the San Diego Unified School District by convening a professional learning workshop at Roosevelt Middle School.

Led by Nourish program manager Elizabeth Charnas and the district’s Farm-to-School coordinator, the two-hour session offered creative ways for educators to engage their students in a meaningful conversation about food, health, and sustainability. The workshop introduced a food literacy approach to teaching and learning and presented the Nourish standards-aligned Curriculum Guide.

The 17 participants–representing 2nd to 9th grade teachers from five subject areas– shared promising practices and reflected on how Nourish could support their academic goals. Each participant received a Nourish Teacher Resource Binder as a starter kit for increasing food literacy in the classroom and community. In an evaluation survey, more than 90 percent of the educators reported that the workshop deepened their understanding of the food system.

Since the workshop, the appetite for a food literacy perspective has grown. Hundreds of educators have requested Nourish resources and are finding novel ways to integrate food literacy across the disciplines. The district’s Food Services Department stepped up to assist this process and now works with teachers to connect classrooms with local farm field trips.

In addition, the district’s Science Program Manager shared the Nourish initiative at a Department Chair meeting. Copies of the Nourish video were subsequently provided to all participants. To date, more than 500 Nourish DVDs have been distributed to educators and non-profit service providers within San Diego County. Nourish has taken root.

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