In order to educate children about the role they play in reducing food waste and to help them discover vegetables, the Regional Union of Permanent Initiative Centers for the Environment in the Loire Valley (URCPIE) is offering classes for children to take part in the “if you enjoy the picnic, you’re part of the picnic clean up!” operation.
The goal is to give children the tools they need to change their food behavior from a concrete action to reducing waste and to reflecting on a balanced diet.
During picnics brought in by the children, vegetables are rare, if not entirely absent. Furthermore, food waste and the amount of trash created are significant. In 2017, the Permanent Initiative Centers for the Environment and the Regional Union helped 12 groups of children enjoy some more responsible picnics. Besides teaching in class, the activity time at picnics were used to work on the following objectives:
- Teaching the children about the diversity of vegetables and their importance in our diet.
- Making the children aware of the challenges in reducing food waste and creating so much trash.
- Supporting a societal change in behavior through food education with the children, but also with their parents, who prepared the picnics, helping them to work on food habits in the family and developing the parent-child link.
This work of the URCPIE has allowed the children to grab hold of the challenges and increase their parent’s awareness of food education, as its normally the parents preparing food for their children’s picnics. The parent-child link and sharing this knowledge are both important elements of this project.
Here are just a few suggestions from the children on how to enjoy a balanced and responsible picnic:
“Put everything in a container, take the right amount that you’ll be able to eat, take the food that you like in your sandwich, as well as fruits and vegetables, use a flask instead of a plastic bottle, share with your friends when you’re full or you don’t want any more, choose foods that won’t melt or be crushed, give what’s left to the chickens or pigs, use cloth napkins and reusable cups”.
This project was supported by the Louis Bonduelle Foundation during its summer 2016 call for proposals.