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South Carolina Read Eat Grow: Programs for All Ages

This guide contains resources pertaining to the SC State Library "SC Read Eat Grow" initiative, encouraging nutrition education, health literacy and food-related programming in public libraries.


An important aspect of South Carolina Read Eat Grow is food literacy programs in libraries.  This guide contains resources and ideas to get food literacy programs started at your library for patrons of any age.

We recommend having attendees sign a waiver, and leave plenty of time to discuss your recipes and ingredients at the beginning of any program in order to be upfront about allergies and preferences.

The new book by Hillary Dodge, "Gather Round the Table: Food Literacy Programs, Resources, and Ideas for Libraries" is a great title to have in your professional collection to reference for programming ideas for all ages. 

View Title in SCLENDS


Cooking with teens and young adults can be incredibly fulfilling. They are learning their independent likes and dislikes, preparing for college life, and oftentimes making meals for younger siblings. Reading a recipe can be a low pressure method of improving vocabulary and literacy skills. Holding a Career Fair that includes chefs, farmers, bakers, locals from farmer markets, and other makers is an exciting way to highlight unusual career choices.

  • Try a cake decorating contest, Cupcake Wars/Cookie Cake/etc.
  • Host a take and Bake where teens make a dough such as cookie dough or pizza dough at the library and provide them instructions for baking the dough at home. 

Program Outlines:

"Sprinkle, Mold, Blend, Create: Cooking Programs for Teens" from the Programming Librarian blog. 

Sprinkle, Mold, Blend, Create

"Veggie Teens": Earth Friendly Cooking Program 

Veggie Teens Program

Virtual Brownie Bake-Off: record yourself making brownies, then share the recipe and video on social media or email. Invite teens to share photos or video of their brownie baking results.

Brownie Bake-Off with Garden City Public Library

Children and Families

It is important to include children in cooking.  Encourage families to bring children to food related programs when possible.  Getting kids to touch ingredients is important for sensory exploration and overcoming a reluctance to try new food items.  If you are unable to provide food programs you can still incorporate food into your story times through crafts and STEM activities. 

  • Start a mini garden.  This could be done on a window sill or in a small outside space.  Make it kid friendly.  Record the growth of plants. (Science and Math)
  • Food Architecture.  Make different tasks such as building a bridge and have kids complete the tasks by using various food.  Kids love to play with food and then have a snack.
  • Cake decorating contests are always a huge hit.  Use fresh ingredients such as fruit.  Bring in a local baker to teach techniques. 


Program Outlines:

  • Family Storytime: Making Food 

This all ages storytime from Jbrary uses diverse books and uses a lot of repetition for new language learners

Storytime Agenda                                                                           undefined


  • Talking About Food Allergies - Nemours Kid's Health.

If you're looking for an approachable way to discuss food allergies, try this resource for educators from the Nemours Kid's Health website. 

Teacher's Guide to Food Allergies  

  • Virtual Cooking Matters Pop-Up Grocery Store Tour

The popular Cooking Matters Pop-Up Grocery store tour can also be experienced virtually! 

Cooking Matters Pop-up Grocery Store Tour


  • Enjoy learning a Tiawanese song about food, and then share some recipes!

Dia Mal Ka


The possibilities are endless with adult food literacy programs. Host a monthly cookbook club, talk about low impact exercise, start a container garden, provide information about cooking on a fixed budget for seniors. 

  • Cookbook Club: Pick a specific cookbook or cuisine each month and have each person bring a dish from the cookbook that they chose.  They can talk about why they chose the recipe and how it turned out.  
  • Explore other cultures: Each month focus on a new country.  Read a book and have patrons pair a dish to the book.


Program Outlines: