The Collaborative is leading a campaign to ensure that all students in grades K – 12 have access to food system education in school so they can learn about agriculture, nutrition, food justice, and culinary skills. Currently, students throughout the state are learning about the food system in science, social studies class, wellness, culinary arts, horticulture class and others, as well as in the cafeteria, school garden, and the community. But not every student in Massachusetts has access to high-quality education about the food system. Because food literacy is not included in most state frameworks or tested on the MCAS, it can be challenging to include these concepts in the curriculum.
The Collaborative is happy to announce that a bill to support food literacy has been filed. Senator Lewis and Representative Vargas have filed An Act to promote food literacy (S.310; H.601). The bills would add food literacy to the list of topics that students should learn about in school; ask the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to help identify appropriate materials and curriculum and provide professional development activities; establish a Food Literacy Trust Fund that could be used by schools to support this programming; and enable DESE to convene a working group of educators and others with expertise in the food system to guide the implementation of food literacy. Please ask your legislator to co-sponsor the bill.
In the fiscal year 2024 budget, we won $1 million to continue to support teachers in implementing food system education, support professional development for educators and field trips for students, and to hire staff at DESE and MDAR!
Based on the interviews the Collaborative conducted with dozens of educators, we have published a report on food literacy in Massachusetts. It includes our findings, case studies and recommendations to expand food system education.
For more information on the report or the campaign, please reach out to Becca Miller at [email protected]