Our Motivation

In the United States, nearly one in three children are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in low-income areas and in communities of color. Nearly 40% of the children in African American and Hispanic communities are overweight or obese, placing them at greater risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses. 

Also affecting young people’s well-being is the scarcity of arts education programs. National data repeatedly suggests that the child groups most afflicted by obesity are the ones who also suffer disproportionally from cuts to K–12 public school arts education. Years of research show that arts education is closely linked to social and emotional development, academic achievement, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity.

With Food in Mind programs are guided by the belief that positive food choices begin with knowledge and that can be filtered through visual art to address both of these issues at once.

To learn more about With Food in Mind, read the Good Food Jobs interview with our founder and watch her TEDx Talk below.


Our children are sick and we know that food education is part of the remedy. But it’s not only their bodies that are being neglected; it’s also the creative parts of their minds. Without creativity, without the arts, we shut down a range of thinking that makes life enjoyable.
— Nicole J. Caruth, TEDxGrandRapids 2013

Our Beliefs

  • Visual art offers countless opportunities to engage people in learning about the foods we eat and where they come from providing points of entry into math, science, history, geography, and many other disciplines.

  • Young people who are informed about food—where it comes from, how it grows, and the many ways to prepare it—are better equipped to make healthier eating choices as adults. 

  • We learn best when all of our senses are engaged. Multi-sensory learning creates a lasting impression and is the ideal educational experience. When students are able to see, touch, speak, hear, and taste they learn to make connections between materials and subjects, as well as differentiate physical properties. Multi-sensory learning leads to rich and engaging experiences. 

  • Kitchens and cooking hold many valuable life lessons and skills: failure, success, confidence, responsibility, patience, effective communication, the importance of safety and planning, and so much more. Food also plays a pivotal role in our individual and collective identities in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, and body image. 

  • Creativity is a main ingredient of inspired future generations. Inspiration occurs when people see that there are more possibilities tomorrow than they realized there were yesterday.

  • Arts education should not be a luxury. Children’s involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, verbal skill, improved motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork.

  • Artists are critical to the future of education. Learning creative practices can not only enrich the lives of students, but offer new ways to help them engage in other subjects such as math, science, and history.