In 2018, after receiving a grant from the USDA Farm to School program, Pilot Light was invited to speak at their annual grantee gathering in Detroit. The 150 attendees heard our Director of Education deliver a presentation centered on our Food Education Standards, the first-ever nationwide recommendations for food education.
Since then, Pilot Light has been using the Standards to give our Food Education Fellows detailed guidelines for curriculum development, instruction, and assessment of food education in their classrooms. We are now thrilled to share that one of the other grantees at that Detroit gathering, inspired by what they heard, has also adopted the Standards.
FRESHFARM, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable agriculture and improves food access and equity in the Mid-Atlantic Region, is using the Standards as the basis for their Pre-K through 5th grade food education curriculum, FoodPrints. As Jennifer Ramsey, FRESHFARM’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction, told us, “Pilot Light standards are a natural fit with our curriculum because of our shared approach to teaching children about foodways and providing them with positive food experiences. Aligning with the Pilot Light standards strengthened the connections in the FoodPrints curriculum between people, food, and the environment.”
A paper about the process that led to the creation of Food Education Standards was also published in the American Journal of School Health in this year and has since been cited six times by researchers internationally. In fact, a research team from the United Kingdom recently referenced Pilot Light’s definition of “food education” as THE definition of the term. In addition, the Food Education Standards served as the basis for “Food Thoughts”, an animated series of one-minute videos that aired on Chicago’s PBS affiliate, WTTW, last fall. Each of the seven videos was centered on a different Food Education Standard.
As the examples above suggest, it is increasingly clear that, through our National Food Education Standards and cohesive model for food education, Pilot Light is facilitating the spread of vitally important food education to schools in Chicago, across our country, and around the world. We’re grateful to FRESHFARM, WTTW, and the other organizations using our Standards for their role in supporting our dissemination efforts.