Each year, Pilot Light welcomes existing Pre-K-12 teacher leaders to join The Food Education Fellowship. Fellows develop expertise with integrating Food Education into everyday learning for their students.

Here’s how Pilot Light invests in our Fellows.

As a Fellow, you will:

  • Receive 26 hours of professional development. Our professional development features leaders and experts in fields related to Food Education such as health, agriculture, school food, food equity, and advocacy. 
  • Receive 1:1 coaching from staff and peers to support the use of our innovative framework in your classroom.  
  • Earn professional development hours required for certification (Illinois teachers only).
  • Receive a $2,000 stipend for your time, energy, and thought partnership and $250 for classroom materials.
  • Co-plan a chef demo aligned to your lessons with the Pilot Light team
  • Collaborate regularly with a partner in the food space to build an advocacy project with your students through support provided by the Pilot Light team. These often include national and community partners or chefs.
  • Become part of a growing network of 70+ Food Education leaders.


Applications for the 2023-24 Food Education Fellowship are now closed! Thank you to all who applied and expressed interest in this annual program. If you’d like to express your interest in applying for the 2024-25 Fellowship, please fill out this form so we can keep you updated!

There are also a number of other ways to stay involved with Pilot Light and bring Food Education to your classroom: 

If you would like to be notified of upcoming opportunities for any of our other programs (including next year’s Fellowship), please submit this form.

Applicants will receive updates on the status of their application via email by the end of June 2023. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter in the meantime for the latest news and events from Pilot Light! 

Questions? Read our FAQs!

Rave Reviews

Since 2019, teachers have raved about the structure and content of Pilot Light’s Food Education Fellowship.

The sweetest and most amazing stuff is getting inspired

…by how amazing these educators are. It’s nice to zoom out and realize I am a part of this bigger thing and there are so many people out there who are fighting the same fight.

– 2022-23 Food Education Fellow

My experience has been wonderful.

I love the different views, presenters, lessons, freedom to explore, diversity of participants, and the openness to demonstrate objectives based on various learning styles.

– 2021-22 Food Education Fellow


What does Pilot Light look like in the classroom?

Third Grade Science Lesson – Pollination

When 21-22 Pilot Light fellow Iván Sarabia made fruit salad with honey dressing with young students, he created an unforgettable science lesson on the importance of pollinators to our food supply chain.


Creating new lessons 

Teachers use Pilot Light to create high-impact, engaging lessons that use food to teach everyday subjects like reading and math. A 2021-22 Fellow used the I Love Saturdays y Domingos by Alma Flor Ada for both English Language Arts and math. Students discussed culture and family before applying math skills to make waffles in class.

Leveraging our Lesson Library

Pilot Light’s Food Education Center is our digital library. Materials are available for free to anyone who needs them. Teachers in our Fellowship are encouraged to use these lessons in their classroom or for inspiration as they create their own lessons.


Professional Development Speakers

The Fellowship experience is further enhanced through partnerships and the expert speakers who join our professional development sessions.

Pilot Light is proud to invite a variety of speakers to share their knowledge and expertise with fellows each month. These are a few we had the privilege to welcome recently:

  • Geeta Maker-Clark, MD, Integrative Family Medicine Director, Integrative Nutrition and Advocacy at NorthShore University Health System; Director, Food is Power program – Montessori School of Englewood; Co-Director, Culinary Medicine Curriculum Clinical Assistant Professor, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago
  • Executive Chef Jessica Walks First, Ketapanen Kitchen (pictured)
  • Jacqueline Richard, Director of Coastal Studies and GIS Technology, Associate Professor of Geology at Nunez Community College
  • Ed McDonald, MD, Associate Director of Adult Nutrition at the University of Chicago
  • Sebastian White, The Evolved Network



Many fellows work alongside community, school and national partners. Through partnerships, teachers create  deeper impact through food for their students, their schools, and their communities. Examples of partnerships, which often endure even after the Fellowship are:

Check out our blog to learn more about these impactful partnerships: Star Farm Chicago and Green City Market, Baltimore City Public Schools, Great Kids Farm, and Wellness with Bella. Fellows also have the opportunity to partner with a chef in their community to bring hands-on, relevant experiences to their students. WATCH Chef James Martin of Bocadillo Market lead a world history and spice lesson in for Pilot Light Fellow Rita Leary’s 7th & 8th grade students! 

Have questions or need additional information? Check out our FAQs! Please contact Caitlin Arens, Food Education Fellowship Director, at caitlin@pilotlightchefs.org with additional questions.

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