Innovation That Matters

Tiny kitchen on wheels aims to get kids cooking at school

Nonprofit & Social Cause

The Charlie Cart Project has developed a mini, portable kitchen that's equipped with all the equipment needed to teach children how to cook.

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Eating out and getting a takeaway are not only expensive, but they are usually much less healthy than cooking a meal. And yet, nearly a third of all Americans say they can’t cook. Hoping to get more kids learning how to take control of the meals they eat, an initiative called The Charlie Cart Project has developed a mini, portable kitchen that’s kitted out with all the equipment needed to teach children how to cook.

If a child has parents who don’t or can’t cook — and therefore can’t teach their child the skill — the chances are that child will go without learning right on into adulthood, unless they take a special class such as home economics. The Charlie Cart Project, however, wants to make hands-on cooking lessons easier to integrate into the standard curriculum. Rather than relying on schools to install their own kid-friendly kitchens on site, the Charlie Cart itself can simply be wheeled into any space to facilitate learning.

The cart is split into 3 sections that provide everything needed for preparing, cooking and cleaning. The kit includes an induction cooktop, small oven and a sink, and also comes with pots, pans, cutting boards, mixing bowls and other accessories. The nonprofit has prepared separate programs for different school grades and is working on creating partnerships with schools to arrange regular cooking workshops with the Charlie Cart. Kids learn to cook, as well as read recipes, count ingredients and practice safe hygiene. And by learning what goes into their food, the team hopes they might make healthier choices later in life.

The Charlie Cart Project aims to make it easier for schools to integrate non-curriculum life skills that will help kids grow up to look after themselves better. Could easy-to-use equipment and programs work for other important soft skills — personal finance or job applications, for example — to help educators find time outside of their usual lesson plans to teach these important skills?



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