Notes from Taylor Meredith, Education Strategy Consultant for Pilot Light & former elementary school teacher and instructional coach with experience in New York City and suburban Chicago public schools.
At Pilot Light, our programs, lesson plans, and daily operations are all guided by the Food Education Standards. These are 7 educational standards written by a group of educators & community leaders that define American Food Education. While I believe that all 7 Standards work together to form a strong educational foundation, I am particularly fond of Food Education Standard #7: We can advocate for food choices and changes that impact ourselves, our communities, and our world.
On March 1st & 2nd, I had the exciting opportunity to live out the values of Standard #7 . Joined by Alex Desorbo-Quinn (Pilot Light executive director) and our partner Marissa Dake (FRESHEALTH vice president of Brand & People), I traveled to in Washington, DC, to share the promising potential of our SnackTime Explorers toolkit on the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). While on Capitol Hill, we met with 15 key offices in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to advocate for the future of this important pairing.
Alex and I brought stories from Pilot Light’s classrooms which sparked curiosity and engaged many lawmakers in inspiring conversations about the importance of Food Education. We even got to hear some staffers’ own experiences with Food Education during their years as students! Marissa from FRESHEALTH provided valuable insights into how Food Education can positively impact the agricultural landscape. Collectively, the trip left the three of us thrilled by the interest in our partnership, FFVP, Food Education, and the Food Education Standards, and invigorated our efforts to continue these conversations in the coming year.
While discussing how SnackTime Explorers uses all 7 of the Food Education Standards to bring educators a structured, consistent set of weekly lesson plans related to the FFVP, I was struck by how the Standards’ impact was already reaching so far beyond the classroom – all the way to the desks of some of our country’s most passionate lawmakers. It makes me wonder: how much further will they grow?