“This is my first time volunteering with kids at the Center,” says Jean Nordlund, “and it’s a blast!” Jean, a long-time LCEC supporter and volunteer, was just one adult teaming up with dedicated elementary and middle school campers to prepare healthy take-home snacks for 90 kids and their families during our 2017 summer camp. These “Summer Bounty” kids learned about measuring, knife handling, chopping, recipe reading, and tackling quantity conversions for larger groups. They especially loved hands-on tasks such as cracking eggs and rolling balls.

Young chefs packaged their homemade snacks with other nutritious items plus the week’s recipe and fun facts about key ingredients of the featured dish. Favorites included peanut butter energy bites, carrot cake muffins, and broccoli cheddar bites.

We asked just a few brief questions after families took their snacks home for a taste test. On a weekly basis more than 75% of surveyed kids said they like to eat healthy snacks, and more than 50% said they want to make the above recipes – even the broccoli bites!

We celebrated the end of the summer with a little bit of ceremony and sent each young chef home with a kit of essential kitchen tools like measuring cups and mixing bowls.

Big thanks from all of us to the Willy Street Co-op Community Reinvestment Fund for a second-year grant that helped us improve this garden-to-table program, to the Breakfast Optimist Club for sponsoring the MCC Garden Coordinator, and to all the volunteers who planted, tended, harvested, and encouraged our kids to discover the joys of growing fruits and veggies right here in Wisconsin.