After more than seven years in the making, the HMC Architects-designed Food Literacy Center has a new home. The 4,500 SF facility adjacent to Leataata Floyd Elementary now serves as the headquarters for the nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire kids to eat their vegetables. Located on 2.5 acres, the new Food Literacy Center includes a cooking classroom, a commercial kitchen, and student gardens.

To commemorate the grand opening, the Food Literacy Center hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Thursday, September 1, 2022, with tours of the new cooking school, bites and sips from top local chefs, live music, and dignitaries.

“The opening of this cooking school means so much more than health and nutrition education. It means a systemic change in a large school district,” said Amber Stott, Founder and Chief Food Genius at Food Literacy Center. “I can’t put into words how much it means to us that Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) saw the value in our food literacy education and decided to invest in the students by building this incredible facility and allowing us to operate it.”

“I’m overwhelmed with joy to see this project come to fruition,” Stott continued. “Food Literacy Center is passionate about educating the next generation on the importance of health and nutrition. This new facility gives us the space to expand our programming beyond classroom education and will hopefully serve as a model for other schools in the area.”

SCUSD funded most of the $7.6 million project and will serve multiple elementary school sites throughout the district. It also represents a significant investment in the Leataata Floyd community, serving the students and their families.

As an organization built around the tenets of health, wellness, and the environment, it was paramount that the headquarters reflected these same values while adhering to the nonprofit’s budget. Fruits and veggies will be grown on-site and washed and prepared in the shade of the outdoor learning classroom. Meals are later prepared in the kitchen for healthy bodies and a healthy environment. The learning kitchen is anchored by a large demonstration counter and is surrounded by domestic cooking stations for kids to gain hands-on kitchen experience.

The building itself also functions as a learning tool where users actively observe on-site energy-conscious features in action. Solar panels, rainwater collection, operable windows and ceiling fans, and a holistic heating and cooling system reduce energy waste. As Sacramento City USD’s first project to pursue Zero Net Energy, the building will produce as much energy as it uses, is free from all fossil fuels, and allows the nonprofit to keep its operating costs low.

The new facility offers programs and amenities, including:

  • A cooking school with kid-friendly appliances and tools to teach students how to cook healthy meals.
  • A kitchen for Food Literacy Center staff and volunteers to prep for after-school programs across the district, focusing on Title 1 schools.
  • Training space for Food Literacy Center staff to train future instructors and manage day-to-day operations.
  • Community programs, including family cooking classes and school field trips.