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Getting Kids’ Hands Dirty: Experiential Approaches to Food Education

Date: January 23rd, 2020

Location: Online

Download the presentation slides here

Encouraging children to take pleasure in exploring, preparing, and experiencing a variety of tasty and healthy foods lays the groundwork for a healthy and positive relationship with food that can last a lifetime. But what strategies help to foster children’s food education in the early years and in schools? 

In this webinar, participants will hear from two leading Ontario-based food education programs for young children. Janet Nezon will discuss the approach behind Rainbow Plate, a joyful sensory-based approach to food literacy education in the early years. We will also hear from Andrew Fleet, Executive Director of Growing Chefs! Ontario, a London, Ontario-based program offering a variety of food education projects to get kids and communities excited about healthy, wholesome food.

By attending this webinar, you will gain an understanding of:

  • Effective strategies for helping children build positive relationships with food, enjoy a healthy and varied diet, and learn about the broader food system
  • The evidence behind sensory-based and experiential food education
  • Opportunities, challenges, and successes in children’s food literacy on the ground
  • How food education can be connected to the Ontario school curriculum 


Janet Nezon founded Rainbow Plate with a mission to translate theory into practice; to bring a vibrant and fresh approach to food education. Rainbow Plate’s joyful sensory-based approach has been woven into workshops and resources that inspire children, educators, parents and health professionals to cultivate a happy, healthy relationship with food.

Since launching in 2012, Rainbow Plate programs have engaged more than 15,000 children and adults across the Greater Toronto Area, in schools, camps, child care and community organizations. The newly launched Rainbow Food Explorers Educator Toolkit enables educators to implement this approach themselves in any early childhood setting.

Andrew Fleet is an avid gardener and local food enthusiast. As the founder and Executive Director of Growing Chefs! Ontario Andrew has designed, implemented and coordinated several successful food education programs that have served thousands of children and youth in London and area. Andrew has coordinated the School Food Education Project in London since 2008, which has been offered in over 100 schools and reached over 10,000 students.

In 2015 Growing Chefs! Ontario was a finalist for the Pillar Community Innovation Awards in the Impact category, and Andrew was named as one of the Top 20 Under Forty – Business London Magazine’s list of Londoners working in the local business community.


Jacalyn Dryland, RD MHSc is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of The Family Table Project. The mission of her company is to ensure that – wherever they eat – children are regularly exposed to rich, multi-sensory, real food experiences. To equip parents and educators with the skills to guide food exploration in a joyful and relaxed way.

She is the first Canadian to be a member of and trained in the Sapere Method (a European model of sensory-based food education that aims to give children knowledge of food through their senses). Jacalyn is also a seasoned home cook, passionate local food and farming advocate, and Mum to a tomato-loving four-year old daughter. 


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