Food Literacy

What is food literacy?

Food literacy refers to the understanding and knowledge that people possess about food including where it comes from, how it is grown and prepared, and where and why we eat it.  

It includes a range of skills and competencies related to nutrition, cooking, food safety, and sustainable food choices.  Food literacy goes beyond basic nutrition knowledge and aims to empower individuals to more easily navigate our complicated food environment to make informed decisions about the food they eat. 

Why is food literacy important?

Being food literate helps foster a healthy relationship with food and can contribute to health and wellness throughout one’s lifetime.

Learning about food and understanding how food systems, food marketing, strategies for planning and preparing meals, and food choices impact our health and the environment prepare students with the skills and knowledge to make the best possible food decisions now and in the future.

Food literacy was added to the Ontario Elementary Science and Technology Curriculum beginning in 2022.

How can students (and adults) learn more about food literacy?

Many of the activities suggested for earning BrightBites badges promote food literacy! Check out the Cook It Up, or Green Thumb badges for ideas to get you started.

1 Desjardins, E. and Azevedo, E. (2013) “Making Something out of Nothing”: Food Literacy among Youth, Young pregnant women and young parents who are at Risk for Poor Health, a Locally Driven Collaborative Project of Public Health Ontario. Available here.

2 Deer, F., Falkenberg, T., McMillan, B. and Sims, L. (Eds.). (2014). Sustainable well-being: Concepts, issues, and educational practices (pp. 37-55). Winnipeg, MB: ESWB Press. Chapter 3: Food Literacy by Colatruglio, S. and Slater, J. Available here.