The Children’s Aid Society’s Food Justice Program
The Children’s Aid Society (CAS), a New York City institution for more than 160 years, operates a “Food Justice ” program, working with children and youth in poverty in the city to educate them about the disparity in access to affordable and healthy food by children in New York City, and to provide them with opportunities to address and remediate that disparity.
In a comprehensive and interactive program, volunteers from CAS work with children in poverty across the city, systematically taking them through a wide range of classes that address basic issues about food and food justice. Among the classroom topics are:
- An identification of food justice—what does it mean and how do we achieve it?
- The components of a healthy diet
- The differences between factory farmed and humanely farmed animals
- An examination of diabetes, including its relationship to diet
- The impact of marketing and labeling on food choices
With every lesson, participants learn to make their own food, from beef stew, salsa and veggie pita pizza to chicken avocado sandwiches and muffins. Students also learn how they can become advocates for food justice throughout the city, and participate in projects to help increase awareness of food issues. Students in the class recently produced a rap video entitled “Veggies in the Kitchen.”
The Children’s Aid Society targets children in poverty, providing comprehensive support structures to children and their families in high-need neighborhoods throughout New York City. Founded in 1853, CAS initially focused its efforts on the needs of homeless children in the city, creating the Orphan Train Movement that many consider the genesis of the modern foster care system.
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