New Zingerman's summer camps teach kids to cook meals for charity

In July, Zingerman’s Cornman Farms will begin offering summer camps in which kids will receive gardening and cooking instruction so they can prepare meals to donate to charity.

The program, known as Camps for a Cause, features three-day sessions aimed at kids aged 9 to 12. The program has been adapted from Cornman Farms’ Cook for a Cause sessions, in which adults gather to cook meals that are then donated to local families. The meals campers create will be donated to local nonprofits including the Delonis Center and Ronald McDonald House.
"I want kids to understand that regardless of what's going on in the world or what adults around them are doing, there are things they can control and there are things they can do to make an impact," says Cornman Farms Managing Partner Tabitha Mason. "No one's work and no one’s change is too small."
The inaugural season of Camps for a Cause will offer three sessions: a Pizza Party to be held July 17-19; a Pancake Palooza July 31-August 2; and Lasagna Love August 14-16. 
Mason says campers will spend roughly equal amounts of time learning to cook and to garden.
"We really want children to understand that gardening is something that anyone can do. Whether you live in an apartment or you live on a big piece of land, it doesn't take much to grow your own food," she says. "... I think that kids are more apt to try [food] that they've grown themselves."
By the end of their sessions, campers will take home a live plant, recipes, components of the meals they make, and a Cornman Farms apron. Campers are not required to have any skills or experience before beginning their session.
Mason hopes to offer more sessions next year.
"I would love to see this as something that grows every year," she says.

Registration for all three sessions is now open and can be completed online.

Natalia Holtzman is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, The Millions, and others.

Photo courtesy of Cornman Farms.
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