About THe CHIldren’s Food Lab
The Children’s Food Lab is a food arts and sciences discovery lab, where curious minds of all ages can connect to the transformative power of food — food that is integral to the health of their bodies and the environment.
The Children’s Food Lab (CFL) was founded to answer a need for food education in schools at a time when obesity afflicts more people than ever before: 1 in 3 American children and teenagers are overweight or obese. These children will suffer from diet-related diseases that were once only associated with adults: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and increased cholesterol levels. They will likely endure low self-esteem and depression, miss more school, and advance less in their careers. These children will join the 66% of overweight and obese American adults, and will likely die younger than their parents.
That’s not all. National healthcare costs attributable to obesity are expected to rise from $147 billion in 2008 to $957 billion in 2030. Our industries, government, and schools are NOT doing enough to rectify the problem. If we know that consuming healthy food is a necessary building block to a full life, we need to educate and enable young people to take control of their health and well-being. Schools must integrate engaging and participatory food literacy education into their curriculum.
The Children’s Food Lab empowers young people to take control of their wellness through fun, hands-on, multi-disciplinary food arts and sciences discovery labs. The CFL is not a traditional cooking class. In a CFL lab, students learn the cool stories behind ingredients they eat all the time but may know little about, such as: wheat, oats, carrots, milk, corn, eggs, avocado, cacao, and herbs. Then, using all five senses, students explore those ingredients and cook with them.
When students learn about wheat, for example, they discuss its history, how it’s harvested, what eating it does to our bodies, how a wheat seed is ground into whole wheat flour, and then further sifted into fine white flour. CFL students complete every step of this process themselves (the threshing, winnowing, and grinding of wheat into flour). The lesson concludes when students mix water into that flour to make dough, which is then rolled out into thin crackers.
MULTI-SENSORY S.T.E.A.M. LEARNING
CFL presentations and labs incorporate science, technology, math, nutrition, culture, history, language, and the arts whenever possible. Students explore ways to package and present their foods, while also learning that their food choices affect the health of their bodies and their environment. The context and backstory of each ingredient creates a deeper connection between students, their food, and the environment – a connection that will last a lifetime and shape the course of a child’s health, well-being, and life.