Saint Louis University

Kids chopping tomatillos
Campers slice tomatillos to make homemade salsa. Courtesy photo

Saint Louis University's "Gardens to Tables" culinary camp kicked off its' first summer session this month. The camp, which is run by SLU's Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Doisy College of Health Sciences, is a week-long program engaging campers in gardening, cooking and nutrition activities. Campers prepare a variety of meals and work with professional chefs, registered dietitians and master gardeners to learn principles of good nutrition, gardening and a healthy lifestyle. The camp has eight sessions that run through August 3.

"Culinary camp is exciting for children because even though they are learning about nutrition and other important topics, we are approaching each activity in a fun, playful way that they can relate to, "said Lauren Lanfried, camp coordinator.

Throughout the week, campers are introduced to new topics and activities. The week of June 11, campers learned about knife safety from Dan Brewer, instructor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the importance of physical activity. Campers also had the opportunity to prepare food for the Campus Kitchen at SLU. To top it all off, campers took a field trip to the Alpine Dairy in Brentwood, Mo., to learn the proper way to milk a goat and how to make cheese.

Each Wednesday, campers participate in "Disability Awareness Day." During the day campers are placed into four stations where they have a simulated disability, including the use of a wheelchair. The day is led by Willie Kimbrough from Paraquad, a St. Louis nonprofit organization, who assists with using the wheelchairs, as well as giving the campers a glimpse into his personal challenges of his reliance and use of his own wheelchair.

At the end of each week, campers have the chance to cook for their parents at the Appetizer Party. The party gives parents an opportunity to experience the skills their children have developed during their week at the camp. For more information on Saint Louis University's Gardens to Tables Culinary Camp, please visit nd.slu.edu or download the camp brochure. The camp also has a blog with up-to-date news on the campers' experiences.