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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.  Read Eat Grow is for everyone therefore there are a variety of program ideas for all ages.  Various food programs include but are not limited to cooking demos, cooking classes, teaching kitchen skills, food related storytime, cookbook clubs, food photography, and more.  


  • Cake decorating contest: Cupcake Wars/Cookie Cake/etc.
  • Bento Boxes: If you have an anime club or if manga is popular then provide Japanese snacks for your teens at programs.  Check out the international section at your grocery store (Whole Foods/World Market/etc.) A lot of anime highlight cuisine such as ramen, sushi, soba, etc.  Have a program based on these dishes.
  • Take and Bake: Have teens make a dough such as cookie dough or pizza dough at the library.  Provide them instructions for baking the dough at home.  This could also be done with pasta. 
  • Career Fair: Include chefs, farmers, bakers, locals from farmer markets, etc.​

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 and it makes them feel included.  If you are unable to provide food programs then you can still incorporate food into your story times through crafts and STEM activities. 

  • If you have a makerspace then kids can create their own cookie cutters.  An example is on May the Fourth we used our 3D printer to make Darth Vader cookies and each kid took home a cookie cutter
  • 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)
  • Travel the World.  Each week talk about another culture and their cuisine, art, music, etc.  Make a dish for children to try.
  • 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. 


  • 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.  Everyone gets to try new food. 
  • Travel Book Club: Each month focus on a new culture.  Read a book and have patrons pair a dish to the book.  They bring the dish on book club day.
  • Cooking classes and various skills.  Learn to make pasta, bread, use a knife, make sauce, etc.

SC State Library Information


Many South Carolina State Library programs, resources and services are supported in whole or in part by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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