In 2013, we gathered a group of African American women in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego to help us craft healthy and delicious recipes for the California Department of Public Health. We had so much fun that we found funding to develop a cookbook for people without access to full kitchens. In 2015, we worked with Iraqi and African community cooks to bring their flavors to a broader audience and integrate local produce into traditional recipes. Up next are two more community endeavors - Native American recipes and Asia Pacific Islander recipes. Check out the cookbooks we have published below, and stayed tuned for our next projects! 

Interested in distributing any of these cookbooks?  Let us know.

Looking for recipes? Visit



Around the World at the Farmers' Market: Recipes from San Diego's African and Middle Eastern Community Cooks is an extension of From Iraq to the Golden State (described below). We added delicious recipes from four different groups of East and North African refugee contributors and combined them into one cookbook. This project was possible thanks to partnership from United Women for East Africa Support Team and the UC San Diego Center for Community Health. The USDA provided SNAP-Ed funding for development, design and printing. Due to the large number of language groups, we printed this cookbook only in English but we thought through layout carefully. To make it more accessible to a wide variety of readers, we included step-by-step photos for most of the recipes. We threw a cookbook launch party in February 2016 with community members and cookbook contributors in San Diego, and celebrated the cookbook again in March 2016 in San Francisco. As always, the recipes are available on in English, Spanish and Chinese, or you can download a free PDF of the cookbook.

From Iraq to the Golden State: Recipes Inspired by Iraqi Community Farmers was developed in partnership with IRC San Diego and community farmers from the El Cajon Community Garden. The cookbook was so much fun to create! We held cooking and tasting parties where we tweaked traditional Iraqi dishes to accommodate limited budgets, San Diego produce, and limited cooking literacy. Then we added in a dozen recipes from, creating an "intercultural" cookbook designed for San Diegans and recently arrived Iraqi refugees alike. Although we couldn't sneak every recipe we wanted into this cookbook (dolma was a particular challenge), we have enjoyed sharing these recipes with the El Cajon community each week at the Downtown El Cajon Farmers' Market. Recipes are available in English and Arabic (download free PDF) and English, Spanish and Chinese on


The Tenderloin Cooking School: Smart Meals for Small Spaces is a community-driven cookbook highlighting recipes, strategies and residents of San Francisco's Tenderloin and Mid-Market neighborhoods.  Featuring delicious, simple and inexpensive recipes that do not require a full kitchen to prepare, this cookbook exemplifies our belief that finding community "bright spots" is a joyful way to encourage healthy choices and spark imaginations. This cookbook was developed in partnership with many local individuals and agencies, with special help from TNDC.

We launched the cookbook on November 19, 2014 at the Heart of the City Farmers' Market and in the first year, we distributed over 1,000 copies to community residents. CLICK HERE to buy the Tenderloin Cooking School cookbook for $30.


Through a contract with Public Health Institute, Leah's Pantry developed recipes for A Fresh Twist on Traditional Recipes with a group of African American women in City Heights, a neighborhood in San Diego. Board member Lisa Barnes edited and standardized the recipes for publication. Recipe development happened in 2012, and California Department of Public Health published most of the recipes in A Fresh Twist on Traditional Recipes in 2016. All recipes are available on in English, Spanish, and Chinese. You can also download a free PDF of the cookbook.

Hard Copy of The Tenderloin Cooking School

Donors receive a cookbook with a donation of $25 or higher!


e-book Version of The Tenderloin Cooking School

An e-version of this cookbook can also be purchased for $9.99.

Providers using recipes for clients click here to print.

Photos from the Community Launch party on 11/19

Photos from development...