Slow Food Turda and its leader, Marta Poszonyi, have started a new project, Edu-Kitchen, promoting food and taste education to kids and students throughout Romania. This initiative is just the latest in over 10 years of actions aiming to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable food consumption among the youth and the general public. We spoke to Marta to learn more about it.
You have a long experience of food education. What’s so different about this program compared to others?
Edu-Kitchen relies on our long history of working in student education. Yet this time our audience is much bigger: we have a tight program of courses and workshops throughout the country. By the end of this year, we will have trained over 1600 kids all over Romania, and each group will take part in more than one workshop and training session.
And for every kid, there is a family behind them.
Exactly! People often underestimate the importance of training pupils and students. When they go home, they demand for change on their table, changing their parents’ attitude to everyday groceries.
What kind of activities do you carry out?
They vary a lot. Usually we cook with the pupils and students, preparing some traditional products like jam, or pies, or even cheese. Then we use what we have prepared to compare artisanal productions with their industrial counterparts. We are sided by a wide team of experts, including university professors. Most importantly, we receive support from many convivia across the country such as Iasi, Cluj, the area of Tarnava Mare, and Bucharest.
What about teachers? How can they help?
For as many students we might be able to train, we will never be able to cover the whole country. This is why one of the outputs of the project will be a manual on food and taste education targeting teachers, so that they will be able to set up workshops and classes on their own.
Why is this project needed?
Things have changed in the recent years in Romania. There is more attention being paid to what we eat, though at the same time there is a complete lack of food education in schools. Projects such as Edu-Kitchen should be formally included in school curricula. Part of the Edu-Kitchen program is actively advocating for such change on the nationwide level.
What makes you confident that such change is possible?
Some of the people working in our team today were kids we trained when they were at school. It is a drop in the sea, but if only one in 10 of the people we train changes their attitude to food, they will influence others and the message spreads.
How can we learn more about the project?
Follow us on Facebook, and spread the word! We are also looking forward to presenting our activities in forums and events such as Terra Madre or Terra Madre Balkans next year: there is so much currently on-going in the world of food education across the Slow Food network, and we wish to learn more, inspire others, and be inspired ourselves.