Our food system accounts for approximately 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, 30% of all food produced is wasted. How can we empower young people to address these issues? FoodScienceClass, an EIT-funded project, took on this challenge by providing students with the knowledge and tools they need to make healthy food choices. These ready-to-use tools have now been released for teachers to use in English, Spanish, Polish, Dutch, Finnish and Hebrew.
FoodScienceClass helps teachers teach about nutrition
Critical thinking to shape the food system
Throughout the three-year FoodScienceClass project, students were encouraged to work with teachers and food researchers to investigate and evaluate the challenges and opportunities of our food production.
They carried out activities with the students such as: zero-waste cooking workshops, label reading activities and food safety experiments. All activities taught critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills.
"It is critical to us that students are addressed as independent citizens capable of communicating on important scientific issues relevant to them," says Dr Keren Dalyot, project leader of the FoodScienceClass at Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology.
"Young people from Israel, Poland, Finland and Belgium got to work on realistic food science issues and investigated their own prejudices and misconceptions about food," says Myrthe Peijnenborg of Rikolto, who worked with Antwerp schools herself.
Science skills and communication modules were at the heart of the project. "For example, the pupils explored the most effective ways to communicate scientific findings, such as through social media and other channels."
Furthermore, the young individuals gained a better understanding of the global and local impact of food. "They learned about the impact of the food system on water, biodiversity, deforestation and climate change, as well as the impact of their own food choices."
Ready-to-use materials for teachers that encourage students to think and act
FoodScienceClass materials and curricula have been available to all teachers and educators since 15th December. The free materials are available in English, Spanish, Polish, Dutch, Finnish and Hebrew, and are aimed at children aged 9 to 14. Food processing, food waste, data literacy, science communication and other topics are covered.
"FoodScienceClass curricula are important tools for teaching students about healthy and sustainable food. They move us closer to a healthier generation," says Myrthe Peijnenborg, Rikolto's project partner in Belgium.
The EIT FoodScienceClass project started in 2020 with a collaboration between three countries (Israel, Poland and Belgium) and four European partners: Technion (Israel), PAN (Poland), EUFIC (Belgium) and DOUXMATOK (Israel).
In 2021, within the framework of our GoodFood@School project, Rikolto joined the project together with VTT (Finland) and FoodBank (Poland). Together with the other partners, Rikolto helped develop the lessons and tested them in different schools. We also made a concrete plan for GoodFoodies; these are young people who are prepared through this plan to become food ambassadors at their schools, prompting fellow pupils and the school itself to take action.
Our engagement with the FoodScienceClass is part of the GoodFood@School project in Belgium, which is a collaboration between Rikolto, GoodPlanet and Fairtrade Belgium that helps schools integrate a healthy and sustainable food policy.
Getting started with the teaching materials
All the teaching materials developed as part of #FoodScienceClass are available in several languages via the EIT Food website.
FoodScienceClass is a project managed by EIT Food and co-funded by the European Union. The project was implemented from 2020 to 2022 with collaboration between four countries (Belgium, Finland, Israel and Poland) and six partner organisations: Technion (Israel), PAN (Poland), EUFIC (Belgium), Rikolto (Belgium), FoodBank (Poland) & VTT (Finland).