Turning county kids into chefs – that’s the idea behind the Cary Kids Cook program – which was unveiled Tuesday morning. Cary Medical Center will be working with the faith based community to teach middle school aged kids to cook healthy foods for themselves and their families.
“Different skills that aren’t being taught in schools anymore at this age so they’ll learn knife skills, mixing, teaspoons and tablespoons…the long term goal is to improve the health of the people in our communities,” said Lisa Prescott, medical laboratory technologist at Cary.
The Cary Kids Cook program will be an an 8 week long cooking class for kids ages 11-14. It came out of a concern that many families in Aroostook County are struggling with getting proper nutrition and the cost of healthy foods. Program Coordinator Anna Blackstone is really excited to teach kids how to cook healthy on a budget and introduce them to foods they maybe haven’t tried before.
“Avocados and fish, learning how to use ground turkey instead of meat, a lot less dairy,” she said.
And all of the food that’s cooked in class will go home with the kids. The project will hold classes at churches in all six of Cary Medical Center’s Healthy You Communities – which include Caribou, Presque Isle, Van Buren, Fort Fairfield, Limestone and Washburn. It’s funded by a 50 thousand dollar grant from Wal-Mart. Manager Chad Gray says the company is working on making the products they sell healthier, but it’s all about making people aware.
“We have to follow that up with an ingredient that’s probably more complex than anything and thats the educational and the informational background to it,” he said.
“If you teach them to fish, then they eat for a lifetime..and so we are looking for lifetime habits and really changing the eating habits of the people here in Aroostook County,” said Prescott.
The program will happen Saturday mornings from 11-2, and is expected to start within the month. Cary is now recruiting six families for the Presque Isle cooking class and six for the Caribou cooking class. To sign up call Cary Communications at 498-1112.