Our Programs

Full Plate

Designed for our youngest participants, Full Plate programming builds the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating by teaching the connection between the food they eat and where it comes from. Lessons focus on building confidence in the kitchen. 

Whenever possible, Full Plate lessons are paired with a farm visit, allowing participants to experience the connection between food to farm while learning about agriculture, cooking, and nutrition.

In a series of three or more lessons, Full Plate:

  • Inspires food exploration
  • Provides nutrition education
  • Teaches skills to prepare a healthy snack

Full Plate serves Kindergarten through 5th grade

Cooks for Health

Cooks for Health programming provides culinary and nutrition education through cooking classes. Flexible programming runs for six to 14 lessons, depending on the ages of participants. Cooks for Health Family Classes offer the same curriculum and invite a parent or guardian to cook along with participants. 

In all programming, a Chef Educator guides participants through classes as they learn to prepare healthy, plant-based recipes. The Chef Educator emphasizes the role of nutrition in good health and focuses on building participants’ skills, confidence, and food knowledge inside and outside the kitchen. 

Teen Culinary Apprenticeship

The Teen Culinary Apprenticeship prepares 16-18-year-olds to become peer advocates for health and nutrition and provides professional development through food industry-related job opportunities. Apprentices explore food justice and food science as they learn the benefits of plant-forward eating. The apprenticeship runs 16 weeks, with a minimum of 54 hours required to receive school credit. The program culminates with participants serving as paid Teen Chef Instructors at summer camps with a mission to teach youth in their community about healthy food and where it comes from.

Participants in The Sylvia Center’s programs learn to:

  • Distinguish between whole and processed foods
  • Build a healthy plate
  • Explore new foods
  • Add flavor healthfully
  • Understand seasonality
  • Learn kitchen essentials

The roots of health disparities start to develop in childhood:

Consume at least one sugary beverage daily

Are overweight or obese

Eat less than the recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables

With our programming, young people take control of what they put on their plate.

Fresh Food Meal Kit Initiative

The Sylvia Center is taking an active role in the fight against hunger by pairing fresh food meal kits with virtual programming. Building strong partnerships with food providers, The Sylvia Center provides kits containing seasonal fruits and vegetables and complementary ingredients, enabling participants to prepare a healthy, low-cost recipe.

Our Program Partners 

In New York City, this means strategically partnering with community-based organizations that provide after-school programming in community centers and schools. We partner to provide our programs to their enrolled students. The majority of these programs sites are on NYCHA properties or associated with public schools.  

In Columbia County, we partner with public schools, as well as other youth-serving organizations and community-based organizations, to bring our programs into the community and onto our Learning Garden at Katchkie Farm. We cast a wide net to bring interested groups in for place-based learning on the farm and rely on volunteers for supporting these immersive days.