At Kids Cook Vermont summer camp, young campers have been cooking their hearts out this week, making meals to serve and share. The camp is designed to raise awareness around issues of food insecurity in our community. The kids have made a meal to share with new American families at the Janet S. Munt Family Room in Burlington, made homemade granola and fresh pesto for the Charlotte Food Shelf, and will be preparing a dinner for residents of Harbor Place in Shelburne.
The camp began last summer, as an expansion of the Kids Cook program at the Charlotte Congregational Church. “The camp came out of the desire to expand social justice and cooking to a larger audience, to children in the whole community, not just church members,” said camp founder Rachel Stein. “Summer camp seemed like a great idea, and it has been.”
“I decided to come to camp because I really love cooking,” said Charlotte resident Meredith Golek, 10, who is one of thirteen campers, ranging in age from 6-12, participating in this week’s session. A second session will run from July 28-August 2. “The camp has been really fun and a great experience for me. I have a lot of fun cooking together as a team.”
Audrey Levin, 10, of Shelburne, adds, “I’ve met a lot of new people and I’ve learned a lot of things about cooking. It’s been fun because I got to help out families who are in need.”
This summer’s camp is themed around local food. Through collaboration with local farms, including Adam’s Berry Farm and Philo Ridge Farm in Charlotte, as well as Footprint Farm in Starksboro, campers are learning more about the process of growing and harvesting food. At Adam’s Berry Farm, where campers picked raspberries on Wednesday morning, “I learned that farmers are growing berries even in February, when there’s still snow on the ground,” said Lily Gruber, 11, of Charlotte.
“It was a great learning experience,” said Ophelia Levin, 8, of Shelburne. “I definitely want to come back next year.”
On Friday, July 12 from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., campers will serve a pop-up lunch in the vestry at the Charlotte Congregational Church, welcoming community members with a meal featuring sandwiches, deviled eggs, potato salad, watermelon pops, and their special switchel recipe. Proceeds from the “pay what you wish” donation lunch will be used toward food and supply costs for the camp.