A Movable Feast: Libraries use Mobile Kitchens to Teach Food Literacy
By Lara Ewen
When the Camden County (N.J.) Library System (CCLS) expanded in 2011–2012 from six branches to eight, its newest buildings were opened in the city of Camden—an area that CCLS Director Linda Devlin identifies as a food desert.
“The city of Camden has only one grocery store, and most city residents rely on small stores and bodegas for food,” says Devlin. “These stores have a more limited supply of healthy food, which limits meal planning.”
Inspired by a visit to the nearby Culinary Literacy Center at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Devlin decided to develop a mobile culinary literacy program for CCLS called Books and Cooks. The program, which began in late 2016, was initially funded through a one-year, $59,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Adult Literacy and Community Library Partnership pilot program.