The Edible Library

Feb 14th, 2010 Posted in programming | 6 Comments »

Last year, in my “Management of Information Organizations” class, I was required to write a vision document which would, among other things, successfully communicate a future view of an organization. I had been thinking about creating an “edible library toolkit,” so I expanded my vision a bit and wrote about a potential business venture – The Edible Library.

Jamie Oliver’s recent TED Prize and his corresponding TED Talk got me thinking about The Edible Library again.  Oliver says his tools are “information and education. Aren’t libraries exactly poised to provide exactly those things?

From my original vision document:

The Edible Library believes in the transformative values of food, nourishment, and stewardship of the land, and we maintain that these values have the power to build healthy communities. The Edible Library works to increase awareness and appreciation of these values by providing libraries with integrated tools and services for community-appropriate food-based education, programming, collection developement, and outreach. The Edible Library’s products and services are the first choice among librarians seeking to use gardening, cooking, food, dining, and associated activities as one means to educate and support the communities they serve. The Edible Library helps libraries nationwide implement programs they may not otherwise be able to financially or logistically afford.

The vision document goes on to identify several products and services including:

The Edible Library Toolkit contains detailed instructions for implementing different food-related programming in libraries. The tools and instructions are flexible, engaging, culturally relevant, and tailored to individual communities…We understand the challenges of providing food-based instruction, planning and executing your library’s own garden (and then growing tomatoes in January), creating an engaging “National Pickle Week” display, teaching pasta-making classes without a kitchen, or arranging a perishable vegetable delivery to a local food bank…

Jamie Oliver’s plans include a network of community kitchens and a “traveling food theater.” They are actively looking for partners. Libraries – especially public libraries – are in a perfect position to take a leadership role in Oliver’s mission.

Does your library currently have food-related programming in place? I am bursting with ideas about this. In fact, one of the reasons I went back to school for my MLIS was because I wanted to open up my own non-profit Edible Library. Maybe it’s time for me to partner with Mr. Oliver AND you?!?