ATLANTIC CITY, NJ -- TAPintoTV spoke with Dr. Angela Cristini of The Mobile Food Lab at this year’s NJEA Convention. The Mobile Food Lab is a converted school bus repurposed to teach students about food literacy. Dr. Cristini is a Professor of Biology at Ramapo College, one of several partners who are the driving forces behind this project.
“It’s like no other bus you’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Cristini. The bus can travel to different schools, serving up to 60 students in grades K-8 per day, or students can visit the lab at the Meadowlands Environment Center, where it is parked when not on the road. Students can participate in a wide range of STEM and STEAM projects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) in the Mobile Food Lab.
Dr. Cristini described the different types of hands-on activities available to students aboard the bus. “To learn about food, first of all, you have to prepare it and then you have to eat it, and that’s what we do on part of the bus,” she said. “You really should know something about the science of taste, so the back of the bus is really all about doing science experiments that have to do with food.”
The Mobile Food Lab works with many partners: Ramapo College and Ecospaces Education write the curriculum and the New Jersey Department of Health has funded the project with a grant. Other partners include Philip’s Education Partners, Greens Do Good, and the Meadowlands Environment Center, the lab’s home base.
Another partner of the Mobile Food Lab is REED Next, which provides job training, employment support and community integration for adults with autism, and a variety of jobs in and around the Mobile Food Lab will be made available to adults with autism.
“Food is something that draws us all together, and what a great way to bring kids together to learn science and art and prepare food, and learn about healthy eating and learn about how it affects their bodies,” said Dr. Cristini. “What better way than to have them prepare food and learn about the science of food?”