Slow Food European School Canteen Network Launched in Bulgaria

26 Aug 2009 | English

A new Slow Food project to bring healthy and local food to school canteens and provide taste and food education for students is being celebrated with two days of festivities at Cherni Vit Musical School in Northern Bulgaria – one of the eight schools participating from across Europe.

The project will be launched during the “From Timok to Vit River” folk festival on the last weekend of August. Bringing together more than 500 children and numerous folklore groups from 100 settlements from all over Bulgaria, the festival will be attended by Slow Food International Councillor, Dessislava Dimitrova; the Mayor of Cherni Vit, Tzvetan Dimitrov; and also the coordinator of the Cherni Vit Green Cheese Presidium, who will present the project.

Children will be able to participate in a sensory education activity developed by the Musical School in Cherni Vit and Slow Food. This will encourage them to expand their awareness of food and taste qualities. The young students will experience blindfolded tastings of homemade products such as apple or blueberry juices, Bulgarian yogurt kiselo mlyako, and local honey, and compare them with their industrial equivalents.

“We hope to raise awareness of local food production and producers and develop the skills and abilities of children to recognize food quality, in the way that they start requesting local products from school canteens”, said Dessislava Dimitrova.

Cherni Vit has a population of 800 inhabitants and the school has 68 students and 10 teachers from surrounding villages. The director, Zvetana Ivanova commented: “There is a tendency towards consumption of potato chips and soft drinks because the village children consider them fashionable. Although there are good products available, they don’t want to buy them.”

Slow Food European School Canteen Network
The Slow Food European School Canteen project is being launched contemporarily in eight schools from seven countries: Bulgaria, Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, Northern Ireland in UK, and Latvia. The schools share common objectives of improving the quality of the school meal services and encouraging knowledge and understanding more about the food, how it tastes and where it comes from. Project activities include: Taste Education activities using Slow Food’s sensory education kit; a school day dedicated to fresh fruits and vegetables; introducing local dishes to the school menu; and starting to source food from local producers and Terra Madre food communities.

Daily Food
One of Slow Food’s key missions is to promote quality daily food that has a positive impact on the lifestyles and health of individuals and communities. Canteens – at schools, work places and hospitals – in their essence should be places of conviviality. Daily food projects that aim to improve canteens signify an important struggle for a better quality of life for a large part of the population. Taste education in the early years of life contributes to the creation of a child’s sensory memory while defining tastes and habits and becoming more aware of their food choices.

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