The Cookbook Project Trains Community Leaders to Promote Food Literacy and Cooking Education

Lani Furbank

The Cookbook Project (CBP) is equipping community members, educators, and volunteers to teach food literacy and cooking education classes to youth in their communities. Teaching children to cook comes with a whole host of health benefits, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. These include instilling healthy eating habits, developing fine motor skills, honing basic math skills, encouraging an adventurous palette, and engaging the senses. CBP asserts that cultivating healthy eating habits and learning to cook at a young age can also prevent children from forming habits that lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

CBP offers an online program that trains people to become Certified Food Literacy Educators (FLEDs). The four-week program covers how to prepare healthy, low-cost, seasonal meals and how to facilitate food literacy and cooking education. CBP estimates that the total time is 15-20 hours and the tuition fees are $199, with financial aid available. Once trained, FLEDs are prepared to implement food, gardening, and cooking education programming in their community with the help of the CBP curriculum.

This training program is designed to accomplish CBP’s mission of ensuring that children and families have access to food literacy and cooking education programs, and empowering youth to be catalysts for healthier communities. They also aim to reduce obesity and associated chronic diseases through interactive and tailored programming with the help of their community partners. These partners include summer camps, schools, City Year, Boys and Girls Club, FoodCorps, AmeriCorps, HealthCorps, faith-based organizations, and others that serve children and families.

So far, CBP has trained more than 1,000 FLEDs in 35 states and 22 countries. These FLEDs have reached an estimated 27,000 young people since 2010, according to CBP. ­A recent youth impact study performed by CBP found that 100 percent of participants in CBP programs learned at least three new cooking skills, and 99 percent of participants were practicing those skills at home with their families. Ninety-four percent were enthusiastic about cooking and found it fun and rewarding.

The next CBP online training will be held from October 17th through November 11th. The deadline for applications is October 6th. Those interested can apply here.