IMG_20161121_184654.jpg

About the Founder

Hi! My name is Taylor  Johnson-Gordon and I am a food educator, plant-lover, and home cook. I'm called to help Black women and girls heal and build resiliency through real, affordable food. I teach interactive and engaging sessions on plant-based cooking, food, nutrition and herbal medicine throughout the greater Philadelphia region. 

So, what is a food educator? 

I am a food educator and not strictly a nutritionist or nutrition educator because I believe that food is complex. Food is about more than filling our bellies, and real food is about more than calories, vitamins, and minerals.

                  Real food is about . . . C O M M U N I T Y  +  C O N N E C T I O N

                           Real food is about . . . S T O R Y  +  T R A D I T I O N

                              Real food is about . . . E Q U I T Y  +  J U S T I C E

                                  Real food is about . . . J O Y  +  P L E A S U R E

In a time where health and wellness is heavily focused on which "new" or "trendy" food you must eat, I try to practice and teach the art of cooking intuitively; knowing how to listen to what your body is telling you that it needs. I believe that real food can free us, not hold us captive.

My teaching philosophy weaves together

all of these elements together while creating a warm, inviting, and safe environment for people of all ages to step out of their comfort zones and create new food memories. While there is nothing

 

My Story

I never planned on being a food educator. 

As a recovering emotional and secretive eater, I spent much of my adolescent and young adult years with a broken relationship with food. Food was my escape from any challenging emotion or reality that I was experiencing. I had low self-worth and a negative body image. It wasn't until my time at seminary that I began to consider the ways in which food had an emotional, physical, and spiritual power over me and my life.

began exploring how my relationship to food and how I treated her body didn't match what I believed to be true theologically: that I was created in the image of God. Never in a million years did I think I would not eat animals, but I began learning about nutrition and doing research about the food industry in this country.  I became vegetarian because I truly wanted to treat my body better and because I became convicted from all the things that I was learning. I felt led to at least give a try. It was on one ordinary, humid July afternoon in Princeton, NJ that I walked to Qdoba and ordered my first vegetarian bowl (made of rice, beans, vegetables, and no meat). Since that day, I never looked back; I have been on this journey now for nearly 5 years (2 years vegetarian and almost 3 years vegan).

Growing up, I always thought that I was going to become a medical doctor. I entered college with that determination, studying biology and spending half my time as a pre-med student. Midway through my sophomore year, I realized that it wasn’t “me” (though I couldn’t necessarily pinpoint the “why”). I quit the pre-med program but continued with my biology degree. My sophomore year was an extremely intense and dark time. I had to create a new identity for myself – outside of what I had thought my chosen path was. Now, almost 10 years later, I have the clarity to see how that experience was preparing me for my current work. Mu path towards becoming a healer outside of this system (through food education, integrative nutrition, black food-way history, and herbalism) has allowed me to go through the growing pains of healing first hand. The fact that this work is very personal to my own wellness and healing allows me a greater level of authenticity in my work.

I often ask myself, “What would a world where black folks are truly safe and free taste like?” For me, it would be crunchy, with lots of texture, spice, and bold color. It would taste like goodness, groundedness, and comfort; like heritage food from my ancestors—collards, millet, and sweet potatoes—but also newer foods that I now crave and appreciate: sauerkraut, brown rice noodles, and tempeh. It would taste affordable without exploiting the lives of black and brown people from our world. It would taste like justice and Black Girl Magic.

download.jpeg

my experience

My eclectic academic background sits at the intersection of food, faith (with particular interest in Black American congregations), and holistic wellness. I have earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Point Loma Nazarene University, a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Princeton Theological Seminary and I am working towards my Masters of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health (with a concentration in Herbal Medicine) from Maryland University School of Integrative Health.  I am also working towards becoming a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), gaining board certification in Holistic Nutrition, as a community herbalist. 

For 2 years, I worked as an Adult Nutrition Educator with The Food Trust where I taught nutrition in corner stores/bodegas, churches, food pantries, libraries, public housing facilities, farmers markets, and community centers throughout North Philadelphia. It is there that I piloted Oldways' A Taste of African Heritage curriculum at 3 different locations throughout North Philly. I also had the unique opportunity to help present out supermarket programming to former Surgeon General Vivek Hallegere Murthy at one of our local grocery stores. 

Informally, I've been encouraging  my close friends and family members (including my husband!) enjoy a more plant-centered lifestyle. 

Currently, my work involves teaching and developing programing on the topics of holistic wellness through plant-based cooking and food education. Here is a list of the services that I am offering at this time. 

 

 

Below are past places where I have offered programs:

  • Drueding Center (Food Pantry)
  • Stephen Klein Wellness Center YMCA
  • Columbia North YMCA
  • Lillian Marrero Library
  • Dorado Village Apartments
  • Serenity House
  • Urban Tree Connection
  • Cobbs Creek Recreation Center
  • Crusaders for Christ Church (Food Pantry)
  • Girls' Rock Philly LRC Camp
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Princeton Theological Seminary