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Educating Britain with Good Sense

United Kingdom - 24 May 12

Over 750 young people explored their senses and made new food discoveries in March and April as part of Slow Food Kids, Slow Food UK's fun and interactive activity which encourages children to think about food through bringing their senses to life.  A key tenant of the organization's mission is to embed appreciation and understanding of food into a troubled food culture. The five zones of the activity are based on the five senses, and are devoted to entertaining and challenging children (and even adults!) in discovering what they do and do not know about the food that they eat. Understanding taste through the senses allows children to appreciate and enjoy food helping them to become better ‘eaters’ as they grow. It allows them the opportunity to truly explore their food through utilising all five senses in a fun, interactive environment with their parents or teachers. In March, Hollington Primary School, Hastings, UK had a successful Slow Food Kids event in which volunteer students from Sussex Coast College Hastings (Slow Food on Campus) collaborated with the local Hastings Convivium group to deliver two food education workshops for 50 school pupils aged 9 and 10 years old. The aim, of course, is to have a lasting impact. According to one teacher, “A week after Slow Food Kids visited our school; the class were still thinking about the workshop and asked to do another food tasting. We tasted 15 cheeses”. Another Slow Food Kids success story took place this March in West Norwood, London, at the Slow Food Festival. Amongst the multitude of food stalls, demonstrations, talks and tastings, 10 staff and volunteers facilitated the Slow Food Kids event for nearly 200 participants. Despite the blustery day, families queued to wind their way through the stations and, as a final treat, everyone was offered a sample of Grana Padano from a generously donated wheel. In April, over 300 children and their families visited Slow Food Kids at the Norfolk Showground in Norwich. One parent commented that the event challenged even adult food knowledge and was “surprisingly tricky!” Despite the variety of attractions and activities on offer, an organizer named it as the “best children’s participation activity at the show.” Last year, nearly 40 Slow Food Kids’ events were run across the UK, enjoyed by more than 13,000 children, from London to Edinburgh, Belfast to Ipswich, including at some high profile events such as Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival, the Royal Highland Show, Alex James Presents Harvest and the Balmoral Show in Northern Ireland. Slow Food believes that this straightforward but effective approach to children’s food education is an effective tool for combating the obesity and food-related health issues that afflict a large part of the population, and will continue to be a strong activity stream for Slow Food UK. For more information on Slow Food Kids, visit: www.slowfood.org.uk


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