The story behind the rainbows
It all started on a park bench.
Janet Nezon, a mom of three and a lifelong educator with degrees in Nutrition and Health Promotion, found herself sitting on a park bench during a break at a nutrition conference in New York City. After years as an academic instructor, teaching the science of nutrition, she was struck by a single yet powerful thought: "When it comes to nourishing our bodies well, there's nothing really new! People don't need more nutrition information - they need to put the simple concepts into action; to get back to enjoying real food. The place to start is with kids; to help them develop a lifelong healthy relationship with food."
This was the seed that sprouted into Rainbow Plate.
In the past three years Janet's seed idea has grown into a vibrant community. Her team has quadrupled, the Rainbow Food Education Foundation has been incorporated to support this innovative programming. Her programs have been delivered in dozens of schools, child care centres, camps, health care and community organizations; all who have been inspired by her simple and colourful approach to eating well.
The Rainbow Team
First it was Janet. Then Hope hopped on board. Now we have a team of colourful Rainbow Food Ambassadors adding their own special ingredients to the cause.
Founder, Program Director (B.Sc. MHSc. M.O.M)
Her 'eye smile' lights up the room. Janet Nezon is the iconic Rainbow Lady behind this colourful movement. For the past thirty years, Janet has worked as an educator and facilitator in a variety of education and health promotion settings. She's part mother-hen, part food education disruptor and part visionary force. Her academic pedigree, experience with education and health promotion, Director of Education roles and motherhood have all helped forge this path to leading the Rainbow Plate movement. She's an academic at heart and loves exploring the 'WHY' behind her fresh approach to food education.
Hope Paterson likes to roll up her sleeves. She is a Toronto based entrepreneur, and mother of two, with a knack for finding the pulse of something and then amplifying it. It’s safe to say that ‘food’ is at the centre of Hope’s universe. When she’s not eating it, sniffing it out, gathering it, cooking with it, sharing it, she’s teaching about it.
Before Rainbow Plate, Hope started a bar/restaurant in a small village in Laos, authored a kids cooking curriculum in Bangkok, founded a kids cooking camp in PEI and helped to build Toronto's leading kids catering company—Real Food For Real Kids from ground zero to 10K kids a day. Hope’s signature skill is being a master generalist who builds memorable culture and brands from inception to success. She gets more excited by red cabbage than red soled dress shoes.
Rainbow Food Ambassadors
Meet the Rainbow Food Ambassadors. Their roles vary from communications, sales, food preparation, program delivery, cheerleading, and research. We call them Ambassadors because they take up the Rainbow Plate cause and insert passion. They're wily, energetic, vibrant and love real food. Over the past year, we've gathered a team of remarkable people from various backgrounds and skill sets to help us achieve our mission. Click the button below if you're interested in finding out how to join our Ambassador team.
What People Say
hear from parents
Since 2012, we have had the pleasure of working and connecting with hundreds of parents across Toronto. After each program we ask for their valuable feedback. Parents have astounded us with their gratitude for the Rainbow Plate Approach and its impact on their families.
Thank you so much for giving us the courage to go for it! As our girls get older and peer, social and media influences sneak in, we know they may struggle with healthy eating and body image. We want to give them the strongest base possible to have their own healthy thoughts, and your program is helping us to get there. Thank you."
---Meghan Lockington-Minns, Parent, Maurice Cody Elementary
“ I was a parent volunteer at one of the sessions you hosted for pre-school children this past week. My daughter came home that evening and looked at her sister's plate and told her she was missing colours on her plate (she started to explain to her older sister what she learned earlier in the day). That's when I knew what you taught resonated with her (and her classmates I'm sure). You've even changed the way I look at the foods on my plate :) I wish you continued success in reaching more kids & adults in rethinking what the foods on our plates mean to our health and wellness!”
---Anita, Parent, Richmond Hill Montessori School
“ I was fortunate enough to experience your rainbow extravaganza as a volunteer for my daughter's class. It was truly enjoyable even as an adult! Thank you for exposing children to "healthy options" in a world filled with much too many "unhealthy options". I was amazed that our son (now 7 years old) started eating purple cabbage when you introduced it to him 3years ago. You truly help set him on a path of trying new things in an exciting way. He was a VERY picky eater but has improved dramatically with time. Thank you for not only making a difference in our family but making an impact in these little individuals of the future."
---Roberta, Parent, Toronto Montessori School
HEAR FROM teachers
“I wanted to communicate how pleased our Toddler educators and students were with the Rainbow Plate experience at TMS School. The program was perfectly in line with the methodologies of our program; it was a seamless experience for our students. It seemed to me that you had a very captive audience!”
---Dina De Cotiis, Head of Toddler, Toronto Montessori School
“Janet's focus enabled practical discussion, strategies and ideas for our staff. She developed a positive environment, which allowed us to consider our curricular and in-class challenges in a very positive light; it was an uplifting and energizing day for us. We will be doing our best to include Janet in future professional development."
---Steve Weinberg, Head of Health and Physical Education, TanenbaumCHAT Kimel Campus
HEAR FROM health professionals
HEAR FROM camps
Download a PDF list of our current clients and testimonials.