The Learning Kitchen is an innovative, hands-on cooking and nutrition education program for Vermonters of all ages. Through interactive engagement in the classroom and the kitchen, The Learning Kitchen enhances both community health and individual self-sufficiency by enabling people to develop the practical skills necessary to establish lifelong healthy eating habits.
The Learning Kitchen began in 2010 and is available for three age groups: middle school-aged youth; young adults who are transitioning into independent living situations; and parents and other adults.
In a series of six lessons, participants engage in hands-on cooking and nutrition education activities that focus on balancing and planning meals, stretching food dollars to maximize nutrition, shopping strategies and cooking techniques.
The Learning Kitchen is typically led by three team members: a host who recruits participants and provides local coordination for the series; a nutrition educator to present the curriculum developed for each age group by Hunger Free Vermont’s network of nutrition education professionals; and the volunteer chefs who provide the cooking instruction portion of the class.
The overall goal of The Learning Kitchen is to provide low-income Vermonters with the tools and education they need to prepare healthful, nourishing food for their families on a tight budget.
The Learning Kitchen can be taught as a series of six lessons, with a host/coordinator, nutrition educator, and volunteer chef as it’s historically been taught, or tweaked to meet the needs of your individual group. Here are some ways to increase the flexibility of the Learning Kitchen:
If you’re unable to conduct the full series, try teaching one or a few of our stand-alone mini lessons. The Mini-Lessons have been developed to be effective as stand-alone lessons and are shorter than the traditional TLK lessons. Mini-Lessons can be found on the Learning Kitchen Curriculum Pages. We plan to release additional mini-lessons in the future, but each lesson of the full curriculum can also be broken up into smaller lessons to meet the needs of your group.
You may not need a host, nutrition educator, AND a volunteer chef. Many times all three roles or a combination of roles can be filled by a single person with the right experience or proper preparation. Online videos or other resources can be used to supplement information the instructor feels less comfortable with (for example: if the instructor isn’t well versed in basic knife-skills/safety, a video can be used to help the instructor demonstrate.)
As of 2019, we will no longer be directly providing funding to host sites. However, you can find an extensive list of grants and funding opportunities here. If you need specialized help in identifying funding, we’d be happy to assist you further.