We are a non-profit organization based in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. We work with schools and communities nationally and internationally to develop food literacy education programs.

Our Mission

Our mission is to improve the health and education of school age children and their families through a unique curriculum – Food is Elementary © – which integrates the academic disciplines with food, nutrition, culture, gardening, ecology and the arts.

Our Goals

  • Having a food based curriculum and Food Educator in every school
  • Documenting the effect food literacy education has on student performance, academics, behavior, and health, and the impact on family eating behaviors
  • Developing school gardens to serve as outdoor food labs where students can engage in nature study and experience the wonders and beauty of the natural world
  • Having plant based entrees as part of every school meal menu
pathway between tomato fruits

Our History

The Food Studies Institute is an outgrowth of the lifelong work of Antonia D’Amico Demas, who is the founder of the organization. Antonia has been engaged in thinking about, studying, and doing work in food literacy education her entire adult life. After teaching kids about food in her son and daughter’s classrooms for years as a volunteer, when Antonia was in her forties she formalized her work by earning a Ph.D. in education, nutrition, and anthropology at Cornell University. Along with coursework, she wrote the Food is Elementary curriculum and conducted research on the relationship between food education and food acceptance with extremely positive results. Antonia founded the Food Studies Institute in 1995 to promote food education in the schools as a regular part of every child’s education. Since then, she has developed food literacy programs in a variety of educational settings with people of diverse ages, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic status.

variety of vegetables

Our Staff

We are a small group of experienced professionals dedicated to developing world class food literacy education programming, teacher training, and research. Our goal is to have a food literacy educator in every school as a strategy for preventing diet-related disease, encouraging students to be curious about what they eat and its role in their well-being, and respecting sustainable practices for the environment.

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