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First, our basic abiding philosophy:

  • We believe in kale and cookies. You may not, and that's okay.
  • We believe that food and eating are personal choices. Butternut tries not to yuck anyone else's yum.
  • We do not have an overt health agenda. We avoid words like "good" and "bad."
  • We believe in meeting people where they are. Our world is full of all kinds of foods and all kinds of eaters, which family preferences and circumstances that can be wildly different.
  • Ingredient includes information about and recipes for all kinds of foods.
  • We aren’t about food shaming or scaring kids, or prescribing values for others because we don’t live in a one-size-fits-all world.
  • We are about raising and addressing questions that likely occur in the minds of American kids today about the connections between food and the environment, food and history, food and technology, and food and physical health.
  • We are also about entertaining and delighting our readers, too.

FOOD LITERACY FOR KIDS

What are two essential skills that can when mastered can radically alter the quality of your life?

Reading and eating.


Learning how to read critically and learning how to eat competently can empower an individual to live a rich, fulfilled, happy, healthy, successful life. Consider this: whole magazines exist for kids dedicated to the topics of baby animals, poetry, popular cartoon characters and even dinosaurs. And while these magazines can entertain, inspire and develop reading skills, ask yourself this question:


Which would you rather have a rich fund of knowledge about,
where food comes from and how to cook and eat it or the habits of dinosaurs?


We love dinosaurs, but there are very few adults who think about dinosaurs every day (and maybe that needs changing). Here’s what adults do think about: if the curbside to-go parking spot is open as they swing by a chain restaurant to pick up dinner on the way home from work. If their kids will ever eat beans or only just bright orange macaroni and cheese. If, between the granola bars in their desk drawers at work and the vending machines, they will have a satisfying lunch. If they will find a way to use the veggies they bought with good intentions at the farmer’s market before they start to rot. Again.


What if there was a solution to these problems? (Hint: there is.)


The phrase “knowledge is power” is frequently attributed to Sir Francis Bacon (mmm, bacon!). Interestingly, the attribution is not for the exact quote, rather a Latin phrase with a slightly different meaning: “wisdom is power.” So, what is the difference between knowledge and wisdom? Knowledge is knowing the facts (say, “carrots are nutritious”). Yet, does a possession of knowledge translate into making more-informed choices? Not always and probably not often. (Think quick: “Carrots or French fries for your side?”) But, wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding and common sense.  So, wisdom is actually so much more powerful than knowledge. Wisdom is choosing carrots because you know they are nutrient dense and that they taste good to you because you have had them before.

Why does this distinction matter?


Food literacy is most simply acquiring knowledge about food, where it comes from, how it is cooked or made, its characteristics and qualities, and ways to eat it. But, when hands-on cooking and activities are added to knowledge, it is compounded and it becomes wisdom.

And that’s what butternut aims to do: seed knowledge and add experiences so readers can sow a lifetime of wise, deliberate, delicious, informed choices.