The Best Classroom on Campus is in the Kitchen

The Campus Kitchens Project

Cakes in oranges and campfire cooking

, August 20th, 2013

nature up north and ckslaw

A campfire, s’mores, oranges, cake mix and a little live music were the ingredients for the start of a great new partnership between the Campus Kitchen at St. Lawrence University and Nature Up North, a community-based organization whose mission is to foster a deeper sense of appreciation for, and connection to, the North Country environment of New York.

Earlier this year, students at the Campus Kitchen at St. Lawrence University (CKSLAW) surveyed their clients to form a better understanding of the types of programming they wanted to see. In doing so, the students discovered a trend: the senior citizens wanted to cook food, and they wanted to socialize while doing it.

In response, CKSLAW partnered with Nature Up North, an organization that was looking itself to become more accessible to and active within the North Country community. The organizations will work together to make outdoor programming (involving food, of course!) more accessible to CKSLAW’s older adult clients.

Their first event took place the evening of July 27 at a local nature center. About 25 of CKSLAW’s clients gathered around a campfire while several students showed them how to make cake in an orange over the fire. (And yes, they saved the orange pieces to use later!) Everyone enjoyed cakes, s’mores and live music while Nature Up North staff talked about future programming that might interest those that attended.

This event was made possible by a grant from The Campus Kitchens Project, which allowed CKSLAW to remain open over the summer for the first time ever. The funding came from a larger grant from AARP Foundation, which allowed 10 Campus Kitchens to increase their meal production and design new programmatic initiatives engaging older adult clients. These additional three months of operations meant that CKSLAW served nearly 700 more meals, engaged 15 new student volunteers and developed two more partnerships than they otherwise would have been able to.

The Campus Kitchen at St. Lawrence University’s unique partnership with Nature Up North is just one more example of how our students are implementing creative tactics in the fight against hunger.

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