Campaigning and cooking for awareness raising

In a nutshell

Schools have a unique role in teaching and shaping young people's values and attitudes. This tool helps schools raise children's awareness about food waste, acquainting them with school cooks and presenting their canteen’s work by organising an event ("Let's Cook Together"). It thereby offers an approach to tackling food waste and contributes to the EU's climate protection, circular economy, and Farm to Fork policies.

Necessary Steps

  • Choose the schools where the "Let's Cook Together" event will take place. It is recommended to tour "Let's Cook Together" events across a number of schools during a single school year.
  • Come to an agreement with the caterer and school canteen professionals regarding their participation in the campaign.
  • Select the classes/children who will participate in the cooking. It is recommended to involve children from 4th to 6th grade.
  • Create a poster for the campaign that promotes reducing leftovers. The poster can be displayed in schools outside those involved in the campaign as well.

During the event at school:

  • The event at school starts with a discussion among children and food waste expert(s), focusing on why wasting food is a problem and what children can do to avoid food waste.
  • The canteen cooks introduce the school kitchen equipment (which children can compare with home cooking devices), work processes, and jobs in the kitchen.
  • The children then prepare creative dishes from the leftover food together with school cooks who guide and help them. The focus is on showing children how food leftovers can be reused to create new dishes. For example, a casserole can be made from side dishes boiled in the morning, such as potatoes, rice, or pasta; or a dessert can include peeled brown bananas.
  • The children, based on the number participating, are divided into task groups of roughly equal size to help prepare the meal.
  • When the dishes are ready, the children enjoy the meal together and discuss the outcome with their teacher and cooks.
  • All children receive a certificate for participating in the event (e.g. “for participation in cooking school”).
  • In addition, a video competition could be organised. The children would be encouraged to make one-minute videos about cooking together to be shared on social media (e.g. a Facebook group specially created for the campaign), which can be rated and commented on by fellow pupils.
  • The involvement of local media (newspaper, radio or even TV) is encouraged to help boost the campaign’s profile in the local community.

More Issues To Consider

According to teachers who have been involved in these campaigns so far, children love the food they’ve cooked together; some even eat more than usual, and others have enjoyed meals they would usually disregard.

Further Information

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