Entire generations have grown up without basic culinary literacy. I believe that much of my generation is lost. I mean that you have people who relate to food only as products of commodities.
Because much of the food production has become industrialised, children grow up with very little culinary knowledge; becoming "culinary illiterate" meaning they walk into the rest of their life with a serious handicap.
Education around food in schools has been, over time, often reduced to how to become a housewife. So we want to make it into an all and encompassing challenge to a kid's curiosity. Digging in the ground, seeing what happens there, experiencing the chickens and the compost, etc. and we see that the kids are constantly moving us in a new direction. For example; when we served sea food, we wanted to have the whole fish, so we can see the entire fish, filet it, look at it, and then the kids started asking: 'How big is the brain?' And I don't know any chef who has seen a cod brain! But the kids here see these things because they challenge us to do it.
We do educational programs. Kids come here, spend every day here for a week and you get this sort of knowledge building through an intense clustering. But, we also relate to the community by having evening courses, and open farm events with different subjects. For example; one team around seafood, one around goats, one around apples, etc. We want to be part of the school system which is incredibly important but we also want to be an active ingredient in the fabric of the city!
We see that kids learn to master and believe that they can cook, but food is often seen as a challenge, for example; in feeding kids, so people end up with serving more and more restricted menus, which is less healthy, less environmentally sound, and it makes you start hating food instead of loving food! We see that more and more families are seeing growing food as a fun activity to do together, and the fact that maybe its also a gateway to getting your kids to eat vegetables.
We want to be contagious! Our power is in providing something unique for the kids, therefore it's important that others are inspired to also do something that addresses the same thing; the question of culinary literacy.
We try to challenge the municipality to offer what we are doing or something similar to all kids that are growing up, and I think within a few years, if we have the political will, it is within reach.
Our main aim is culinary literacy because it has a super value in itself. But it's also an incredibly strong tool for integration, for addressing the sort of social fabric of the teaching environment, and a key to other subjects.
We are impacting the society of today. We are making it impossible to look away from the rights of the children and from the importance of food and cooking in all societal aspects. It's about social justice. It's about environmental changes. It's about health challenges. It's about learning. All of these aspects have been denigrated into superfluous, but food is the most basic element in our lives, and if it has the possibility of being a source of endless and devastating problems it can also be the solution to all these problems.
Andreas Viestad is a food writer, cookbook author and television presenter. He is the founder of Geitmyra Matkultursenter for barn - Geitmyra Culinary Center for Children, a foundation that works to teach children about food and cooking. He is passionated in how food has shaped us as people and as culture. And how the food will shape our future. But most of all it's about the food we eat together.
edit / atelier – is a young innovative landscape, urbanism and architectural practice co-founded by Eric Reid, Gauthier Durey and Linn Runeson.
We work at the interface of Landscape, Urbanism and Architecture. We believe in open, borderless processes and we strive to create synergies between spatial environments.
Linnea Bågander - Linnea is a PhD-student in Artistic Research at the Swedish School of Textiles. She works with movement, materials and bodies, and how together they create expressions and experiences. Her work ranges from how materials interpret body movements, to how materials give impressions, inspiration, and movements to the body.
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