Spoons Across America: The Dinner Party Project
Spoons Across America® is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating children, teachers and families about the benefits of healthy eating. They work to influence the eating habits of children through hands-on education that celebrates the connection to local farmers and the important tradition of sharing meals around the family table.
One of several programs, The Dinner Party Project® is a dynamic, family-focused food education program involving children ages 10-12 in the entire process of producing a dinner party for their parents at a school or community center.
Through a five-week project, fifth though seventh grade students are taught about nutrition, food safety, meal planning, table setting, etiquette and cooking. This powerful experience of planning a dinner party also deepens their understanding of the value of community, family, teamwork and sharing, while building self-esteem and having fun.
The curriculum handbook provides a “Dinner Party Planner” with all the information s/he needs to conduct the program, coordinate with school staff, enlist parental and culinary help and create local press. Homework assignments are structured to involve parents and families.
The Dinner Party Project was first conducted in 2001 in the New York City metro area, and launched nationwide in Spring 2002 in Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Vermont. Since then, there have been more than 40 Dinner Parties conducted in elementary schools, middle schools, a charter school, a community girls club, The Harlem Boys and Girls Choir Academy and a county extension center.
To learn more about how you can organize a Dinner Party in your community, visit the Spoons Across America website.