Testimony in support of Food and Nutrition Education

By March 27, 2024Blog

New York City Council Committee Testimony in Support of Food and Nutrition Education

March 18, 2024


My name is Barbara Glassman and I am writing as the Executive Director of The Sylvia Center. Thank you to Council Member Rita Joseph, Chair, and all the members of the Education Committee for convening this hearing. We appreciate the opportunity to submit this testimony to advocate on behalf of critical food and nutrition education for our students.

Founded in 2007 to address diet-related diseases in under-resourced communities, The Sylvia Center educates young people and their families through culinary programming to promote health and well-being. The Sylvia Center programming runs robustly in all five of NYC’s boroughs (D1, D2, D8, D9, D12, D14, D15, D16, D17, D18, D21, D26, D29, D33, D34, D35, D38, D41, D42, D49, and D51). We help young people take control of their health through better food choices, and encourage them to be healthy food advocates in their communities. In the past 17 years, The Sylvia Center has served approximately 40,000 participants.

This year, The Sylvia Center is a provider to NYC DOE for the first-ever food and nutrition education funded in our schools. As we all know, healthy students perform better in school in many ways: academic performance, education behavior, and cognitive skills and attitudes (CDC). Currently, 60 schools out of ~1800 have funding for this programming, but more is needed. All schools should have sustained, flexible funding to provide vital food and nutrition programming. We urge the Council to request that the NYC DOE maintain this initiative and increase equity in reach across all NYC Council districts. ($2 million)

We are advocating for this funding as a member of the NYC Food Ed Hub, a diverse group of over 300 food and nutrition education organizations, school community members, advocates, and others from all five boroughs of NYC convened by Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University. The Coalition works together to ensure that all NYC students have quality food and nutrition education and sustainably-produced, culturally-responsive, healthy school food. The Food Ed Hub advocates for policies that support healthy school food and food education, convenes stakeholders, develops organizational capacity, undertakes independent research on key school food issues, and provides resources and professional development opportunities for educators. We urge you to partially restore full funding to our group so that we can continue this crucial work in partnership with providers and educators citywide. ($375,000)

As one of our students said, “You know, I think I actually like vegetables now. I’m always excited to try these new recipes.” Please support access to healthy food and food education for all NYC students.



Barbara A. Glassman
Executive Director