Food is Elementary

Listen to Antonia Demas, founder and director of the Food Studies Institute, discuss overhauling food education on the Plant Yourself Podcast by visiting:


PYP 141: Antonia Demas on Overhauling Food Education

Demas became interested in food and nutrition at a young age, becoming a vegetarian at 14, when vegetarianism was far less common. Her passion is educating children about food, through what she calls “food literacy education.” She focuses on teaching kids about food holistically, which includes gardening, cooking, and nutrition. Food literacy education engages children via all five senses, fostering the most effective learning.  

Demas talks about the importance of involving children in the process of preparing, which she says is key to their willingness to try and enjoy healthy food. She notes that often kids aren’t the problem—rather, it’s the adult perception about what kids are willing to eat.

This podcast also tells the fascinating history of the school lunch program, which was developed after World War II. Demas goes on to explain why the school lunch program became nationally subsidized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and how this actually caused the “demise” of the small family farm. Understanding the program’s history is important, as she demonstrates, to creating change in the program today.


To learn more about Demas and her work:

  • Visit the Food Studies Institute, a “not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of children through food based solutions,” founded and directed by Demas.  
  • Check out her book Food is Elementary on Amazon.  


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