Harris Policy Labs and Pilot Light: Building a Coalition of Support for Food Education

In 2018,Pilot Light released the nation’s first-ever Food Education Standards, a set of recommendations for food education for K-12 students. The Food Education Standards were developed in collaboration with Pilot Light co-founders and notable Chicago chefs Paul Kahan, Matthias Merges and Jason Hammel, as well as nutrition and education experts and faculty from the University of Chicago, Columbia University, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a teacher development team comprising Chicago Public Schools faculty.

As a partner of the Community Programs Accelerator at the University of Chicago, Pilot Light connected with the Harris School of Public Policy’s Harris Policy Labs to explore new ways to further the adoption of the Food Education Standards. Pilot Light proposed working with Harris students on a strategy for getting the Food Education Standards curriculum into schools at the policy level.

“We presented to Harris, saying we really need an advocacy plan for Pilot Light,” said Alex DeSorbo-Quinn, Pilot Light executive director. “They came back to us, and we were very fortunate that Harris Policy Labs took this on as a project.”

University of Chicago assigned four grad students to work on developing a policy recommendation for Pilot Light. The graduate students accessed the Food Education Standards and curriculum, examined the food education environment in Illinois, and referenced other education policies. With their analysis, the team developed recommendations, a list of legislators and policy makers for next steps.

Pilot Light has taken the recommendations and connected back with UChicago’s Community Programs Accelerator. “We’re especially excited to work with our partners to come together, build a coalition, and pursue this goal of making food education a field of education that is desired by teachers, schools, parents and students,” said DeSorbo-Quinn.

To read the full article on Pilot Light and the Harris School of Public Policy’s Harris Policy Lab collaboration, click here.

To read the Food Education Standards, click here

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