The Cookbook Project: Buncombe County Early College pilot program promotes healthy food habits

This spring, a dozen students from Buncombe County Early College participated in The Cookbook Project, an eight-week food literacy pilot program organized by local nonprofit organization Bounty and Soul. With Bounty and Soul’s mission already focused on providing fresh produce and wellness resources to the community, The Cookbook Project was a natural fit. According to Bounty and Soul founder and executive director Allison Casparian “Its core lessons served as a great foundation [for the program], allowing us to create a customized curriculum that is holistic in nature,”

The Cookbook Project is an international nonprofit organization that began in Boston with a mission of teaching nutrition literacy and basic cooking skills to kids. Instructors can become certified with the project through online courses, then create a curriculum that addresses the specific needs of their community. “We’ve included a class on self-care that introduces the kids to stress management and yoga as well as a field trip to Barefoot Farm in Barnardsville, exposing the students to time in nature and teaching about the importance of eating locally and sustainably,” notes Casparian. Class topics include nutrition, label reading, menu planning, budgeting and healthy substitutions, and sometimes feature cooking demonstrations.

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