Food Literacy

By: Joyce Slater   Eric Schofield   Elsie Azevedo Perry   Melissa Fernandez  

Food literacy has emerged as an important construct for its potential to mitigate negative effects of the contemporary, complex food system including poor health, nutritionism, unhealthy food relationships, and ecological degradation. Food literacy has been conceptualized through definitions and frameworks, however gaps exist in the translation of evidence-informed food literacy knowledge. This session will bring together several initiatives from Canada which are building on theoretical ideas of food literacy to implement applied, integrated knowledge translation strategies. Four cases will be discussed. “Food Literacy for Life” is a Locally Driven Collaborative Project which has identified food literacy attributes, and is validating a food literacy assessment tool for vulnerable/at-risk youth and young parents. The “FANLit Food and Nutrition Literacy” project is building an evidence-based knowledge repository of resources for educators of children and youth. The “Eat Well Campaign: Food Skills” was a national initiative that promoted meal planning to parents, and has leveraged the resources and expertise of cross-sector partners to diffuse a fully integrated health education campaign. In 2012, “Food Literacy: A (Hands-On) and Appetizing Course on Thinking Critically About Food” was offered to adolescents in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and has since been a catalyst for various methods to engage secondary school youth within the realm of food literacy. These initiatives are exemplified by their extensive engagement with stakeholders and end-users to produce best practice approaches to applied food literacy education and promotion. Discussion will compare food literacy knowledge translation strategies and invite experiences and feedback from session participants.

Food Literacy Youth
Food, Nutrition, and Health

Joyce Slater

-, -, University of Manitoba, Canada
Manitoba, Canada

Eric Schofield

Teacher Teaching on Call, Secondary School, Victoria, Sooke and Saanich School Districts

Elsie Azevedo Perry

Public Health Nutritionist, RD, Health Promotion , Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Canada
-, Canada

Elsie Azevedo Perry is a Registered Dietitian working in public health in Ontario for almost 20 years. In the last six years, she has been the lead for the Locally Driven Collaborative Project (LDCP) - Healthy Eating Team which curently consists of 17 public health units in Ontario, the Nutriiton Resource Center an Academic Advisor from the Univiersity of Waterloo. Public Health Ontario (PHO) supports applied research and program evaluation through the LDCP program. This program brings public health units together to develop and run research projects on issues of shared interest related to the Ontario Public Health Standards. Elsie is represeinting the LDCP Healthy Eating Team at the Food Studies Conference. in 2013, the team started with an exploratory study with high risk youth, young parents and young pregant femailes to explore the meaning of food skills. Findings from this study resulted in a more comprehensive definition of food literacy and model for program planning, policy and evaluation. In 2016, a socping reivew and a Delphi study were conducted to identify key attriubutes of food literacy which resulted in a revised Food Literacy Framework for program planning and evaluation. As a result of this research, food literacy includes interconnected attributes organized into the categories of food and nutrition knowledge; food skills; self-efficacy and confidence; food decisions; and ecologic (external) factors such as the food system and the social determinants of health. Currently a tool to measure the identified attributes of food literacy is being developed and validated with the previously identified priority populatoins of 2013. Elsie and her team have been engaged in extensive knowledge exchange activities to shift public health practice in Ontario to use food literacy as a comprehenisve fremework when planning, implementing and evaluating public health interventions that address healthy eating.

Melissa Fernandez

PhD candidate, School of Nutrition, Université Laval, Canada

Melissa Fernandez is a member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec and is the Associate editor / French editor for the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research. Melissa has contributed to international research projects in Barbados and Ghana and has worked as a dietitian with First Nations Health Programs in the Yukon. She is now completing a Ph.D. in Nutrition at Université Laval studying food literacy among Canadian parents and evaluating a national healthy eating campaign.