After nearly a decade of inspiring children to eat healthily, the California-based nonprofit Food Literacy Center is building a zero net energy cooking school. It will be ready just in time for the organization’s tenth anniversary this fall.

Food Literacy Center classes incorporate cooking into STEM curricula—short for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For instance, students might measure ingredients in math class or make emulsions in science. Kids taste a diverse array of fruits and vegetables and cook new, culturally appropriate recipes every class. They also spend time in outdoor gardens, where they harvest produce and study plants, and they teach kids how the food they consume impacts the environment.

The Food Literacy Center currently serves elementary students at 16 low-income schools in South Sacramento, where many children are at high risk for diet-related disease. Ninety to 100 percent of Food Literacy Center students rely on free and reduced lunch programs. Ninety-two percent are Black, Hispanic, and Asian American.

“We know that if we make nutrition education hands-on and make it fun, we can engage students and get them excited about eating their veggies,” the center’s CEO, Amber Stott, tells Food Tank. “We don’t put any pressure on kids to eat or not eat the food. Our instructors show up with joy… We explore. We play. We high five over bites of broccoli.”

Read the full article about food literacy by Amy Martin at Food Tank.