Home > Programs & Services > Culinary Literacy Center > Nourishing Literacy NOURISHING LITERACY

The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Culinary Literacy Center (CLC) opened in June of 2014, providing innovative and accessible public programming to children and adults throughout Philadelphia. The Culinary Literacy Center’s mission is twofold: To advance literacy through cooking and to provide an opportunity for community engagement and civic dialogue around all facets of food, nutrition, and culinary literacy. Our goal is to do this work in a way that inspires curiosity and fun among participants.

Nourishing Literacy is one of our main initiatives in the Culinary Literacy Center. Through Nourishing Literacy we offer students and teachers food-based lessons both in the kitchen and in the school that support classroom curriculum.

We hope to see you and your students here in the Culinary Literacy Center!

If you are interested in having your class participate in Nourishing Literacy, please fill out this form. We will follow up with you as soon as possible.



Seeds That Feed (K-1)

Little seeds play a big role in the food that we eat! Whether the weather is cold or warm, sunny or cloudy, seeds are always up to something down in the ground. Help dig up the dirt on seasonal, seed-made foods!

Key Literacy Learning: Sequencing & Science
Key Food Focus Points: Flexible Cooking & Seasonal Eating

Make & Taste Party (K-2)

You are invited to enjoy how special healthy foods can be! Eating homemade, whole foods can be a treat… treating our bodies well! This celebration is one where we will practice kindness and consideration in connecting with our friends and community.

Key Literacy Learning Areas: Storytelling & Critical Thinking
Key Food Focus Points: Culturally Relevant Foods & Whole Foods

3rd Grade

Hometown Homemade (3-1)

Hooray for food that’s from PA! Join the fun as we feature produce and products found in our neighborhoods and local towns. In addition to learning what is available at nearby farms and stores, we will learn how to keep cooking very close to home – stretching food dollars by shopping in our kitchen cabinets and using what we have on hand!

Key Literacy Learning Areas: Writing & Finance
Key Food Focus Points: Food Access & Seasonal Eating

Flavor-Focused Kitchen Science (3-2)

Food can be cooked in a way that is slow or fast, using skills and equipment that are old-fashioned or new and modern. We’ll learn how technology, tools, and natural processes help create tasty and nutritious foods.

Key Literacy Learning Areas: Storytelling & Science
Key Food Focus Points: Sustainability & Healthy Habits

6th Grade

Faces of Food Systems (6-1)

There is a lot of work done from the field to the plate. The people who grow, produce, prepare, and serve our food are a key ingredient in the food that we eat! We will honor, highlight, and explore the journey that our food takes.

Key Literacy Learning Areas: Reading & Critical Thinking
Key Food Focus Points: Employment and Labor Equity & Seasonal Eating

Snacks Unpacked (6-2)

Let’s figure out how many healthy foods we can pack into our snacks, while still creating foods that we crave. Snacks can be homemade and great additions to our daily diet, balancing nutrition with taste.

Key Literacy Learning Areas: Writing & Math
Key Food Focus Points: Flexible Cooking & Whole Foods

If you are interested in having your class participate in Nourishing Literacy, please fill out this form. We will follow up with you as soon as possible.


The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Nourishing Literacy program engages students in the Culinary Literacy Center and the classroom through lessons that use food as a pathway to multiple literacies.

Some of our classes focus on recipe-writing, others explore food through books, and others are centered on reading nutrition labels and understanding the difference between processed and whole foods. All of our classes strive to make one or more of the following connections:

  • Classroom Connection: offer support and lessons to school teachers, making kitchen learning an extension of classroom learning
  • Community Connection: practice manners, compassion, respect, and group awareness through team-based cooking
  • Culinary Connection: teach basic kitchen skills and food safety information to promote independence and self-reliance
  • Cultural Connection: include histories of traditions, holidays, and ritual roles of a diversity of culturally-relevant foods
  • Food Justice Connection: approach lessons with awareness and support of people who are food insecure, promoting ingredients that are easily available and have a range of preparation styles
  • Library Connection: encourage students to develop a renewed, meaningful, positive association with the Free Library of Philadelphia
  • Literacy Connection: provide a holistic approach to literacy through engagement across many classroom subjects
  • Nutrition Connection: use recipes that expose students to a range of nutrient-dense, seasonal, fresh ingredients and give students the tools to make informed choices based on nutritional guidelines
If you are interested in having your class participate in Nourishing Literacy, please fill out this form. We will follow up with you as soon as possible.

Now entering its second year, the Nourishing Literacy program offers opportunities for students to make deeper connections between cooking, literacy, food, and nutrition. The Nourishing Literacy team has created curriculum for Kindergarten, third, and sixth grades featuring an assortment of math, science, social studies, and critical thinking concepts in addition to reading and writing. Our lessons weave Common Core standards through in-classroom activities and hands-on Culinary Literacy Center-kitchen classes. Food educator Shayna Marmar of Honeypie Cooking works with The Culinary Literacy Center's librarian Suzanna Urminska to provide students with engaging, meaningful exposure to everything from food systems to storytelling.


The CLC’s facilities are on the Fourth Floor of the Parkway Central Library at 1901 Vine Street. They include a commercial-grade kitchen and culinary classroom that seats 36 students. One of our major initiatives over the last school year was our elementary & middle-school program, Nourishing Literacy. During the 2014-2015 school year, we worked with schools across the city, and hosted over 1,300 students.


Each Nourishing Literacy unit includes three elements: A preview visit to your classroom, a hands-on lesson as a field trip to the CLC, and lesson plans for teachers including suggested book tie-ins. We hope to expand the program to reach even more students this school year, exposing a wide range of children to new tastes, tools, and ideas.


The Nourishing Literacy Team includes Shayna Marmar, Food Educator and owner of Honeypie Cooking, Suzanna Urminska, Culinary Literacy Librarian, and Liz Fitzgerald, Culinary Literacy Specialist. This program is a true collaboration, with each team member bringing professional experience and personal interest to develop a thoughtful, well-rounded curriculum.


If you are interested in having your class participate in Nourishing Literacy, please fill out this form. We will follow up with you as soon as possible.