I’m brand new to this library, but I have worked in libraries in rural and suburban locations for over 20 years. I am passionate about providing our communities with quality programming.

In the 1990s I worked with our local hospital nutritionist to offer healthy snack classes to “latchkey” kids.

The Charlie Cart is incredibly well organized – it includes everything we need to run a successful program. And it’s mobile!

- Rebecca Jo Walpole

How are you using the Charlie Cart Mobile Kitchen and Curriculum?

Right now, as we learn, we are doing classes for elementary-aged students using the recipes provided with the Charlie Cart. We will be offering family cooking classes in the Summer/Fall. We want to do a series of classes for healthy cooking using SNAP. We are exploring doing programs at our community parks.

What is the early feedback about the Charlie Cart tools and materials?

Parents would love to see more classes offered. Their response has been overwhelmingly positive. When we made the Blood Orange Soda and Seed and Sprout Salad the students had a great time and almost all of the parents opted to stay in the room to see what the program was all about.

I’m excited about how this project is going so far. It is so versatile. The cart is incredibly organized and has everything we need for a successful program. I love that it’s mobile.

What is your favorite Charlie Cart lesson?

We love the Seeds and Sprout Salad. It is fun giving students Brussels Sprouts and  Pomegranate – foods they are not used to having. We found and printed off photos of the plants the different seeds came from. Everyone in the room, parents included, learned something new. We made enough for everyone to have a taste and the students enjoyed serving the adults something they had made. Three of the ten students have been back to report they made the recipe at home.

What are some of the challenges to offering food education and how are you overcoming those?

The lesson plans and curriculum are well done, and we use organic vegetables whenever possible. That said, cooking requires a lot of planning ahead and staff time. More than any other class we’ve ever done. And groceries for a group can be expensive. In order to alleviate some of the expense, we’ve received a donation of a gift card for groceries. To overcome this, we’re currently choosing recipes based on cost.

What stands out most from the Charlie Cart curriculum?

I like that Charlie Cart provides background and safety information to help you get started. We will be making Chai next, and I was delighted to see the Thich Nhat Hanh quote to read with the class.

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