Nutrition Education in Action: Chinese Heritage and Identity Through Food And Nutrition (CHIFAN) Project

On October 6th, 2023, the Chinese Heritage and Identity Through Food And Nutrition (CHIFAN) Project kicked off another semester, embarking on a series of lessons dedicated to imparting knowledge about the significance of Chinese cultural cuisine and promoting diversity in food intake among Chinese American youth.

Initiated by Danying Li and Eric Wang, both alumni of the Institute of Human Nutrition, the CHIFAN Project had its roots in the IHN Food Co-op back in June 2022. Its humble beginnings involved conducting classes in a small preschool in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The initial six-week curriculum aimed to introduce Chinese American children to the principles of healthy eating and cultural food. The project, initially unnamed, laid the groundwork for what eventually evolved into an officially funded, IHN-sponsored program. Now, it has expanded its reach to two public schools in Flushing, Queens. Over time, Danying and Eric, along with graphic designer Chumin Wu, have been overseeing the development of this year's curriculum, which has undergone several revisions, expanding to eight lessons and embracing more comprehensive and well-rounded topics.

While Danying, Eric, and Chumin have been instrumental in leading the CHIFAN Project since its inception, the current involvement of IHN students has been pivotal to its success. Starting in the Fall 2022 semester, these students were recruited as lesson instructors and planners. They were responsible for crafting and delivering lesson plans throughout the then six-week curriculum. Engaging in weekly discussions with project leads and receiving feedback from public school administrators, IHN students applied their nutrition knowledge to real-life scenarios, acquiring and refining essential skills in nutrition education that will benefit them in their future careers.

Presently, six IHN students actively volunteer with the CHIFAN Project, with support from several alumni offering their expertise. As the project enters its final lessons for the semester, leaders Danying, Eric, and Chumin express their hope that the CHIFAN Project, along with all its members, continues to make a profound impact in the communities they hold dear and actively support.