In 1995, a group of educators, chefs, and food professionals created a discovery-based curriculum for elementary school children called Days of Taste®. “It was clear that our children were losing the connection between the land and their food and we needed to do something about it,” explains educator Julia V. Jordan, Days of Taste founder. A four-part experiential curriculum is made available to many New York public school 4th and 5th grade classrooms each fall.
In 2001, the founders of the Days of Taste created Spoons Across America® – a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating children and families on the benefits of good nutrition, healthful eating, and passing along the important traditions of supporting local farmers and sharing meals around the family table. Expanding on the Days of Taste program, Spoons Across America provides programs for elementary and middle school children in the classroom and via community-based organizations and health care institutions. “Children who lack proper nutrition are more susceptible to limited growth, restricted brain development, reduced immune function, and limited cognitive development,” says Jordan. “A Cornell University study showed that children who have had hands-on opportunities to explore and prepare new and nutritious foods, will be more likely to eat in a healthy way,” she says.
The American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF) adopted the Days of Taste program in 1998 and it became a national AIWF program.
Culinary legend Julia Child was an enthusiastic supporter of Spoons Across America programs from the beginning. She believed it was essential to teach children about the origin and importance of eating fresh locally-grown foods noting, “In this age of fast and frozen foods, we want to teach school children about real food – where it is grown and how it is produced – so they can develop an understanding and appreciation of how good, fresh food is supposed to taste.
Since our founding, Spoons Across America® has developed a holistic nutrition-based curriculum, for 1st through 5th grades, to ensure that children are empowered to make healthy eating choices. Today, our programs, Spoons Food Explorers, Farm to Book®, Take a Taste with Spoons, Spoons Recipe Days, The Dinner Party Project®, and Spoons Summer Recipe Days, awaken and inspire a lifelong passion in children to explore smarter, more nutritious, and more diverse food choices. We are dedicated to improving children’s relationship with food so that they may enjoy the benefits of healthier bodies, healthier lives, healthier families, and healthier communities.
Our Philosophy: At Spoons Across America®, we believe the best approach to good nutrition is to encourage children to lift up their spoons, excite all their senses, and taste new healthy foods. Our programs actively engage children to use all of their senses through hands-on experience and direct observation ‒ appearance, texture, scent, and taste. Through our programs, children become independent and inquisitive taste-explorers.
Spoons Across America® strives to improve children’s relationship with food and help them understand the long-term benefits of healthy eating. Through our nutrition-based programs, children develop a healthy food curiosity that has a lasting impact throughout their lives.
Spoons Across America’s comprehensive and progressive approach to food and nutrition education in public schools begins in the 1st grade and continues through the 5th grade. Children participating in our programs have educational experiences around food, tasting, nutrition, and health that are developmentally appropriate and build upon previous concepts and experiences. All our programs are hands-on and exploratory based, as well as including opportunities for writing and drawing and contain take-home materials for families with recipes, related activities, and opportunities for further discovery.