About this project
Healthy kids through hands-on food education
The Charlie Cart Project packages everything needed for high-quality cooking and nutrition programs in a simple-to-use, streamlined kit for educators everywhere.
Just as hands-on learning develops critical thinking and promotes collaboration in subjects like science and math, cooking projects engage all the senses to reinforce academic concepts, influence attitudes about food, and foster lifelong healthy habits.
The Charlie Cart Project enriches programs where school gardens or limited cooking are already in place, and brings hands-on learning to schools that are just getting started with food education.
A Kitchen for Every Classroom
Our tough little kitchen on wheels includes all the components needed to set up hands-on cooking lessons in any educational setting: a cooktop and small oven, a rinsing station, mixing bowls, cutting boards and more. The cart supports lessons across disciplines, moves easily between classrooms, and works outside in the garden or playground.
How it started
For the past 15 years, Carolyn Federman has been helping build garden programs with the Edible Schoolyard Project, and teaching kids to cook. During this time, school gardens have gone mainstream, and hands-on education has proven highly effective in combating the epidemic of diabetes and childhood obesity. Yet Carolyn realized that cooking in schools is often too difficult and expensive for mainstream adoption. "Most schools don't have kitchens that teachers and students can use. So to teach cooking, food educators must cobble together hot plates and plastic bins and whatever we can get our hands on. I started thinking that there's GOT to be a better way."
Carolyn asked Brian Dougherty to help her design that better way. Brian is founder of Celery Design. He sees design as a tool for enabling sustainability and promoting large scale social change. "What intrigued me at first was the scale of Carolyn's dream – to give a whole generation of kids direct experience with healthy food."
Since then, the team has assembled an incredible panel of expert advisors, developed and refined design solutions, and built relationships with partner organizations.
We've built a prototype cart, tested it out, and refined the design. We're setting up a pilot program at public schools in California, where we'll test efficacy and refine the lesson plans. A team from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future is designing a set of tools that will help us evaluate and learn from pilot program.
Breville, and OXO have helped to make the pilot possible by generously donating high-quality equipment. Now we need your help to actually build the second-generation carts for the pilot program, and prepare for a nationwide launch in 2015.
What Will This Campaign Fund?
Funding from this campaign will support our pilot program, helping us to test the cart, lessons and training in real-world classrooms. We need to build the second-generation carts, develop lesson plans, develop training and document and evaluate the program. These are foundational, one time costs.
Our goal is to deliver a very high-quality program at the lowest possible cost for schools. The design is modeled after a mobile AV cart, so a single kit can serve many classrooms at a school. Once we scale up production in 2015, we expect the Charlie Cart Project toolkit and training program to start at approximately $6,000 - $8,000 per cart. We expect to drive down the cost in future years as quantities increase and as we develop partnerships with outside funders.
$25 - MAGNET We’ll send you the cutest ever Charlie Cart Project refrigerator magnet.
$50 - TEA TOWEL We’ll help liven up your kitchen with a spankin' new Charlie Cart dish towel.
$75 - APRON We’ll spice up your cooking attire with a lovely Charlie Cart Project apron.
$100 - T-SHIRT We'll help you get in touch with your inner beauty with this Charlie Cart Project t-shirt.
$300 - MARKET BAG We’ll get you fully outfitted with a Charlie Cart Project emblazoned market bag, filled with a t-shirt, a tea towel, apron, and magnet (and a big virtual hug).
$500 - GIFT BASKET We’ll assemble a Charlie Cart Project Artisanal Gift Basket with our friends at Good Eggs, so you're stocked with pantry items and ready to impress at any moment.
$1,000 - EARLY 'BIRD' SPECIAL Be the first to donate $1,000, and we'll give thanks with Carolyn's Thanksgiving turkey recipe and an heirloom turkey from BN Ranch for your Thanksgiving feast! Act fast, this reward offer ends on November 10. Shipping is NOT available for this one, pick up is in Berkeley, CA. (Limit of 5 available)
$2,500 - COOKING CLASS FOR 10 We’ll teach a Charlie Cart Project cooking class for up to 10 kids or adults. Includes a delicious lunch, which you'll help prepare, at Celery Space in Berkeley. Led by Carolyn and Brian. (Limit of 3 available)
$2,500 - DINNER FOR 6 AT THE LOCAL BUTCHER We’ll treat you to a private dinner for 6 at the butcher block at The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, CA, prepared by chef/owner Aaron Recchino and the Charlie Cart Project team. (Limit of 1 available)
$5,000 - CHEZ PANISSE KITCHEN DINNER We’ll treat you to an intimate dinner for two at the pastry marble in the kitchen at Chez Panisse Restaurant,offered by Chez Panisse chef and Charlie Cart Project collaborator, Cal Peternell. (Limit of 1 available)
$10,000 - SPONSOR A CHARLIE CART Supercharge the Project! If we meet our funding goal, we’ll donate an additional Charlie Cart in your honorto a school in need. PLEASE NOTE: This reward will be available for delivery after Fall 2015, when we beginour national roll out. Thanks for your patience, we’re still in the pilot stage! (Limit of 3 available)
Our Advisory Board
Harold McGee, Author of On Food and Cooking, the Science and Lore of the Kitchen
Michael Pollan, Author of Omnivore’s Dilemma and Cooked; Professor and Director of Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley
Carrie Varoquiers, Executive Director, Workday Foundation; Founder of Giving Comfort
Alice Waters, Founder of Chez Panisse Restaurant; Founder and President of Edible Schoolyard Project; Vice President of Slow Food International; Author and Activist
Carina Wong, Deputy Director of Education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Kimberly Yorio, Founder and President, YC Media, Strategist and Publicist for cookbook authors, chefs and culinary brands
Our Pilot Program partners
Thanks to our friends and partners who have helped get the Charlie Cart Project off the ground:
Photographs by Marianna Nobre and Ana Homonnay; Graphics by Celery Design; Tips and tricks from the Edible Schoolyard Project and Emily Pilloton/Project H; and moral support from our friends and families.
Risks and challenges
We expect to deliver the second-generation carts and toolkits to pilot sites in January 2015. We have assurances from our manufacturing partner that this schedule is realistic, but there is a chance of unexpected delays due to: component availability; the difficulty of getting things made and delivered over the Holiday season; and unforeseen design details that may need to be ironed out.
We are keenly aware of how important it is to stay on top of the many variables and dependencies. We are well prepared, based on years of experience managing large, complex projects. Ultimately, transparency is the best way to avoid unwanted surprises. We will work closely with pilot sites and our Kickstarter supporters to keep everyone informed as the project progresses.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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