Nourish takes root in San Diego schools

SDUSDNourish teamed up with the San Diego Unified School District’s Food Services and Student Programs/Professional Learning departments to create a program that offers food literacy resources and professional development to SDUSD educators.

A 2012 food literacy workshop at San Diego’s Roosevelt Middle School introduced the Nourish initiative to K-12 educators, promoted strategies to inspire student achievement and sowed the seeds for building a healthy food culture at schools and in the community.

Led by the Nourish program manager and SDUSD’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 explained the concepts behind Nourish, presented its standards-aligned curriculum and gave educators a venue to view and discuss the Nourish video resources.

The 17 participants (representing 2nd to 9th grade teachers from five subject areas) had an opportunity to share current best practices and reflect on how Nourish could support their teaching and help build healthy communities. Each participant received a Nourish Teacher Resource Binder, with hours of video content and over 100 pages of food literacy resources. The binder included the Nourish: Food + Community DVD, the Nourish Short Films DVD, the Nourish Curriculum Guide, a food system glossary, and many additional tools.

The workshop was well received, with over 90 percent of participants reporting that it deepened their understanding of the food system and 85 percent planning to incorporate Nourish into their teaching.

Since the workshop, momentum is growing in the district around teaching food literacy. Many SDUSD educators who did not participate in the workshop have since requested Teacher Resource Binders to help them use Nourish materials in their classrooms. The Food Services Department has continued to distribute Nourish resources around the district and is working to connect and support interested classrooms with farm field trips.

The district’s Science Program Manager presented Nourish at a Department Chair meeting and copies of the Nourish film were given out to all participants. To date, almost 500 Nourish films have been distributed to educators or non-profit service providers within San Diego County and over 200 educators have signed up to join Nourish and/or access the Nourish curriculum.

Ultimately, this project is working to help ensure that SDUSD students can build and support a healthier food system through active and thoughtful food choices.

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