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Nutrition Education: The Rise of Food Curriculum in Schools

The best foundation for a healthy lifestyle is knowledge. Youth education around the importance of sustainability and nutrition provides kids with the information to not only make healthier choices now, but also in the future!  Many are starting to understand the need for cooking and nutrition education, leading to more and more schools adopting food-curriculum. Stanford, for example, has recently launched the “Teaching Kitchen @ Stanford” program to not only teach college students how to cook, but also how to create healthy dishes on a college budget.

Food curriculum is not just for college students, however.  Many elementary schools have begun educating their students as well.  Woods Academy in Bethesda, MD uses food and gardening to explore science and nutrition, for example.  And, Stephen Ritz, from our Tower Garden by Juice Plus+ family, has also made a splash in the food curriculum pool! A teacher at South Bronx in New York, NY, Ritz has launched the “Green Bronx Machine” in an effort to raise food and health awareness at this school.

Stephen Ritz founded the “Green Bronx Machine” as a way to demonstrate sustainability and nutrition to kindergarten through 12th grade students.  The nonprofit consists of over 100 in-school and urban gardens which are tended to by students.  In addition to increasing the produce grown in the Bronx area (which is lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables), Ritz’s curriculum also teaches his students about the responsibility of gardening and the importance of nutrition.  The “Green Bronx Machine” is a passion of Ritz’s. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, he stated, “I love arugula, but I really love happy, successful, engaged kids.”

Ritz’s passion and his program’s success has not gone un-noticed.  He is one of 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize, for which over 5,000 teachers were nominated! Along with the honor and recognition of being named “Global Teacher,” winning the award would also provide Ritz $1 million to make “Green Bronx Machine” even bigger and better. The winner will be announced March 15, and we’re rooting for Ritz to take home the prize!

The importance of nutrition education to build the foundation for life-long healthy eating cannot be overstated. Ritz, along with schools like Stanford and Woods Academy have the right idea. It’s never too early to start learning about healthy eating. The future looks bright for more schools to follow in their footsteps and introduce food-related nutrition classes into their curriculum.

Are you in favor of more schools incorporating food and nutrition classes into their curriculum?  Share your thoughts with us!



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