What is Veggiecation?
The mission of Veggiecation is to promote and educate communities on the health benefits of vegetables and how to prepare them in simple, unique, affordable, and most importantly, delicious ways.
Hands-on experiences and fun-filled activities inspire children (and adults) to explore new vegetables through engaged learning, tasting and discovering their truly delicious qualities.
Vegetables are the most powerful part of the plate, and yet they are the most often ignored. In order to increase consumption, they ought to be marketed to children in the same ways processed foods have been. Although, all of the recipes used in Veggiecation’s signature Healthy Kids Cooking Classes are healthy vegetarian recipes, Veggiecation is not a vegetarian program – it’s simply a pro-veggie program!
The story behind the program
Veggiecation was founded in 2009 by Lisa Suriano. After working in the school food industry for many years, Lisa saw a need to incorporate nutrition education in elementary schools.
She originally developed the program to help teachers incorporate vegetable education into their existing curriculum. However, over the years the methods and goals of Veggiecation have evolved to bring nutrition education to communities outside of the classroom setting.
Today, Veggiecation offers a variety of tools to incorporate vegetable education into your every day life. From healthy kids cooking classes and family workshops to educational posters that display the who, what, when, where, and why of a “Special Veggie.”
Currently, Veggiecation programming has been implemented in over 30 US States, as well as, Canada, South Africa, South Korea and the Dominican Republic.
Changes in School Food
In September of 2012, the USDA implemented new requirements for the National School Lunch Program. The goal was to serve more nutritional school meals. A larger variety and quantity of vegetables and legumes are now being served, unfortunately across the country there was a backlash from students. An immense amount of food has been wasted and children were not receiving the nutrients they need to thrive academically. Food waste and a lack of proper nutrition during the school day continues to be a problem nationwide. It’s important to foster acceptance of new foods.
Veggies in School = Better Students
- Elevated standardized test scores
- Increased language & cognitive skills
- Decreased nurse visits Lessened need for counseling sessions Lower number of disciplinary referrals 123
The Minds & Talents Behind This Program
- The Veggiecation® characters were hand illustrated by the talented Lauren Roth of Yellow Bird Bohemia Art.
- The Veggiecation® Recipes were developed by school food chefs with over 35 years experience cooking from-scratch food for students.
- Our classroom companion books were developed by Master elementary educator and curriculum developer, Jovanni Ramos.
1 Nansel, T., et al (2009). Association of school performance indicators with implementation of the Healthy Kids, Smart Kids programme: case study.Public Health Nutrition Journal, 13 (01), 116-122.
2 Florence, M., et al (2008). Diet Quality and Academic Performance. Journal of School Health, 78 (4), 209-215.
3 Haire-Joshu, D., et al (2008). High 5 for Kids: The impact of a home visiting program on fruit and vegetable intake of parents and their preschool children. Preventive Medicine Journal, 47 (1), 77-82.