James GrossoJames Grosso

Executive Director

james@spoonsacrossamerica.org

When I first discovered Spoons Across America, it was like finding an old friend waiting for you to return home – the mission and I are in perfect sync. I have always been a food and nutrition advocate and I am looking forward to working alongside the Spoons team to expand and increase support for our programs.

Furthermore, a nutritious meal not only starts a child’s day, it’s the beginning of a life filled with endless opportunities. Eat well, learn well and live well!


 

unnamedAli McDowell

Director of Programs and Partnerships

ali@spoonsacrossamerica.org

Why I work for Spoons: I love eating and cooking and I feel so lucky to have a job that allows me to share this passion. Teaching children where their food comes from, giving them the opportunity to experience what food tastes likes, smells like and looks like is so important (and fun too!) Encouraging families to cook together and to eat together is critical, as is providing opportunities for children to develop long-lasting food memories, creating healthy eaters who see the connection between their bodies, the food they eat, and the world they live in.

Favorite or least favorite foods: My favorite foods are too vast to name and I haven’t ever met a vegetable, fruit, meat, fish, legume or grain I didn’t like. That said, it’s the foods that I associate with wonderful memories that might be called my favorite. The little neck clams on the half shell that I slurped down as a small girl on the docks in Martha’s Vineyard, the strawberries we picked and ate right out of my grandmother’s garden, the corn I helped grow on the farm I worked on in college, or the fresh salmon and asparagus I cooked as the first meal for my now husband.

Main ingredients:  I grew up outside NYC with many summers on Martha’s Vineyard and then attended Bates College in Maine before landing in NYC for graduate school at the Bank Street College of Education.  I have spent many years as a caterer, school administrator, classroom teacher and curriculum developer.  In addition to working at Spoons, I enjoy spending time in the kitchen with my 6 year old daughter, tasting and cooking together, and introducing her to the all the exciting flavors and smells of good food.


 

catherine photoCatherine Lea

Food Educator

catherine@spoonsacrossamerica.org

Why I work for Spoons: I love that I get to talk about good food with kids, whose excitement, curiosity and strong opinions shape their experiences at the table. For many adults, food can be a source of anxiety – we worry about how we feed ourselves and our families, and get mixed messages from all sides about diet and nutrition. Talking with kids early on about the way they eat, where their ingredients come from, and the way they feel about food can be tremendously empowering for them. I love Spoons’ focus on hands-on learning; it inspires a sense of adventure in the kitchen and leads kids to a healthier, happier, more informed relationship with their food and the people who grow and make it.

Favorite Foods: I grew up around dairy farms and I have a serious love affair with sharp cheddar cheese. But I couldn’t pick a true favorite food – I love to cook and eat it all. Some of the flavors I look forward to most as the seasons change are fresh basil in the summer, roasted butternut squash in the fall, spicy noodle soups in the winter, and the first sugar snap peas in the spring.

Main Ingredients: I grew up in rural Vermont, surrounded by small farms. I attended Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and was lucky enough to study sustainable farming in Havana, Cuba through a semester abroad program. My work in New York has revolved around food and urban agriculture: I’ve worked in restaurants and as a private chef, have researched and written about regional farming issues, and teach kids’ culinary classes in New York public schools. I’m currently enrolled in the NYU Steinhardt Food Studies master’s program.


 

Caty Schnack

FOOD EDUCATOR

caty@spoonsacrossamerica.org

Why I work for Spoons: During my senior year of high school, I taught an after-school cooking class for third and fourth graders at my local elementary school in Rhode Island. I observed that positive peer pressure and the absence of parental pressure were key factors in the kids’ willingness to try new foods. I chose to teach for Spoons because I love our hands-on approach, which allows children to explore wholesome food in a fun, relaxed environment.

Favorite Foods: Despite having studied nutrition, I have a huge sweet tooth so I never skip dessert–I’m obsessed with chocolate! I also love vegetables, especially if they’re roasted. I always tell my students to try a food multiple times before deciding they don’t like it, because our taste buds can change over time. This has been mostly true for me, but I have failed time and time again to enjoy pickles and olives!

Main Ingredients: I was a serious picky eater as a child–my favorite foods were bagels, frozen chocolate chip waffles, strawberries and deli turkey. For years, that was about all I ate. Learning how to cook and experimenting in the kitchen broadened my palate, expanded my diet and stoked my interest in healthy eating. I graduated from NYU in 2016 with a degree in Nutrition & Dietetics and a minor in Public Health..


Sarah M PhotoSarah Moga

Administrative and Development Assistant

sarah@spoonsacrossamerica.org

Why I work for Spoons: I am a very passionate home cook and I love exploring new recipes and having my friends over for meals & movie nights. So it makes sense to me, that the more I learn about cooking and how my food makes its way to my table, the more I want to help people in my community learn about that too! I’m so excited to be part of a team that connects children, teachers and families to food, because it feels like such a natural extension of what I’m trying to do for my neighborhood and my family.

Favorite Foods: I come from a family of food nerds, so it’s hard to narrow down the list! My dad’s smoked ribs are a summertime classic and my mom’s sweet and sour cabbage feeds my soul during cold New York winters. Through my neighborhood CSA membership, I’ve been exploring some lesser-known fruits and vegetables, and I’ve rekindled a love for plums.

Main Ingredients: I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, surrounded on all sides by orchards and farms (and even my parents’ local apiary). I graduated from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where I studied History and German. I lived in Germany for a stretch of time, which prompted a lifelong love for my Host-Mom’s cucumber salad recipe. I moved to New York for graduate school, and I graduated from New York University with a degree in the History of Women and Gender. Before coming to Spoons Across America, I worked in Development and Social Media for the nonprofit sector, as well as for the performing arts world.

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About Us

We are founded on the premise that the best approach to good nutrition is to encourage children to lift up their spoons, excite all their senses, and taste new healthy foods.

Our History

SAA partners with businesses, professional organizations, and volunteers – farmers, chefs, restaurateurs, and food professionals – across the country.

Our Sponsors

Our supporters include nonprofits, foundations, corporate partners, and both the culinary, wellness and education communities.

Our Partners

In order to produce and develop our food and nutrition education programs, SAA partners with organizations, corporations, and individuals.