Envisioning a Food Educated Chicago

Last month, Pilot Light welcomed representatives from partner organizations to The Future of Food Education, a breakfast designed to foster conversations and visioning around a food educated Chicago. Hosted at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center and in partnership with its Community Programs Accelerator, guests from more than 20 organizations participated, including Growing Home, Common Threads, Purple Asparagus, Green City Market, Chicago Public Schools, CLOCC, Gardeneers, IAPHERD, Communities in Schools, Plant Chicago, Seven Generations Ahead, the Chicago Food Policy Action Council, Feeding America and more!  

The breakfast began with everyone sharing their work and physically “linking” over commonalities. Guests were then introduced and updated on the Food Education Standards, which Pilot Light developed to define Food Education and support its implementation Food Education in school classrooms.

Following the introduction of the Food Education Standards, guests broke out into smaller groups to work together on a visioning exercise. Partners collaborated to develop their vision of what a food-educated Chicago would look like. Taking poster boards and markers, guests colored vibrant images of Chicago. Looking ahead, we’re working with an illustrator to create a visual depiction of our collective vision for the “future of food education” that we will share publicly.  

The inspiring event is an early step, but an important one, in making food education a priority in our school classrooms and communities.  Pilot Light looks forward to continuing our work with this collective of mission-aligned organizations and individuals committed to a food-educated Chicago.

The morning wrapped up with concrete commitments from the Pilot Light team for how we will continue to engage community members going forward to ensure that our work is actionable.  Serving as a kickoff for a coalition that will support Pilot Light’s policy work, we’re planning to engage organizations in the Harris Policy Labs effort in the near future.

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