Betty Jane Reed Award 2008

Starla Krause accepts the B.J. Reed award on behalf of KidsCook.
KIDS COOK was created in 2003, by Robin Krause, Starla Krause and Susan Telleen at their neighborhood school, Loring Elementary. The Krause sisters and Telleen wanted to put their professional expertise as cooks, caterers, gardeners and food designers to work for the community.  They began teaching Loring students how to make healthy meals with fresh, seasonal and nutritious ingredients through an after-school cooking class they called KIDS COOK. However, this was not simply a cooking project. They also took on the daunting task of cultivating those healthy ingredients right in the school’s front yard. 

Drawing on the help of over 50 families and 350 students, they created the Loring Schoolyard Garden, home to lettuce and beans, strawberries and mint, squash and peppers, and on and on.  By the fall of 2007 the garden had become established, the cooking classes had taken off, and school staff realized what an asset KIDS COOK could be if it were part of the regular school day. This is how the after-school KIDS COOK became KIDS COOK Classroom, which integrates classroom teachings so that all students have opportunities to learn in the schoolyard garden each season of the year.  KIDS COOK went from being a community-driven dream to an integral part of daily life at Loring School. 

The unrelenting, completely voluntary work that went into making this a reality cannot be quantified, but a conversation with one of the founders will quickly reveal the depth of their dedication. They develop curriculum and recipes for students, host extensive fundraising events, mobilize huge numbers of volunteers, and not least of all weed, weed, weed the garden!

These three women have made a contribution to the students of Minneapolis that isn’t sufficiently described by the term “volunteerism.” They give of themselves in the way that we give to our own families: they take their work at these schools personally. Robin, Starla and Susan empower young people to cook well for themselves by teaching them how to grow, prepare and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables.  The KIDS COOK founders believe that every child deserves to be exposed to great-tasting healthy food. We thank both the KIDS COOK founders, Robin Krause, Starla Krause, and Susan Telleen for their continued work on behalf of the community, and also for the example they set through their personal and passionate contribution to their neighborhood students.