I Made the Menu (Torino)
Children from 8 to 10 years old participate actively in the design of the school menu, with the help of specialists. The idea is to improve their knowledge of the importance of the quality of the food they eat, while seeking to make the food served in school lunchrooms to their liking.
The City Council has set up a project called “I Made the Menu” in order to involve the entire school community and the school catering personnel in a training-based, innovative program in nutrition education and responsible consumption. The project gets children from 8 to 10 years old to participate actively in the design of the school menu, with the help of specialists. The idea is to improve their knowledge of the importance of the quality of the food they eat, while seeking to make the food served in school lunchrooms to their liking.
To do this, the students receive training on healthy eating’ habits from specialists and teachers, that includes field trips to different places such as, for example, a pedagogical farm, a market, the School Catering Service, a supermarket, school catering companies, etc. In this way, the students learn about the nutritional value of food and where it comes from (the raising of animals and local fruits and vegetables), seasonal produce, labelling, food safety and environmental factors (CO2 emissions, waste, etc.). The idea is also to get them to appreciate the importance of environmental sustainability.
Teacher’s involvement in the Project is very important for its proper development. Teachers receive training at the beginning of the experience, they participate in the preparation of the menu and accompany the students on their field trips.
Another important factor is that children must learn to reach agreements in relation to the selection of food and accept criticism, since the meals proposed are not always to everyone’s taste. The school menu is designed on the basis of the culinary preferences of all of them. At the same time, the students act as multiplier agents by talking about the project to their families, friends, neighbours, etc.
At the same time, meetings are held relating to this issue aimed at teachers, families and the persons in charge of school lunchrooms in all the public schools of Turin.
It is a comprehensive project given that it approaches the issue of nutrition from various points of view, dealing with issues related to habits, lifestyles and well-being. It also deals with education in responsible consumption by instilling an appreciation for local produce and the knowledge of the food chain, the impact that production and food consumption have on the environment and the strategies for environmental sustainability.
More information is available here.