Output Title:Climate Action in School Canteens

Output Type: Learning / teaching / training material – Manual / handbook / guidance material

Start Date: 2021-11-01

End Date: 2023-05-31

Activity Leading Organisation: Primary school France Prešeren Črenšovci & Centre for Health and Development Murska Sobota

Description: The motivation behind the Climate Action in the School Canteen IO is the world’s current climate changes. Global warming is a global issue that needs new and innovative solutions to overcome the issues related to the current CO2 and CH4 emissions (Nasa 2020) (NRDC 2016) (UN 2019). Several studies have shown that food production is responsible for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, divided into categories of Supply Chain, Livestock & Fisheries, Crop Production and Land Use (Poore & Nemecek 2018) (Ritchie 2019).

In relation to food, it is possible to reduce greenhouse gasses by reducing food waste. This fact and the above-mentioned issues is what gives the Climate Action in the School Canteen its rationale (FAO 2020). Several studies conclude that food literacy and hands-on learning activities provide pupils with competencies to act practically in their own everyday life (Institut for Fødevare- og Ressourceøkonomi 2013). Hands-on activities motivate pupils to engage and increase their enthusiasm within a certain subject (Carlsen 2011). Further, providing the pupils with real-life problems is seen to provide pupils with a better understanding of how and why something needs changes while motivating them to act upon it (Carlsen 2011).

Overall, the Climate Action in the School Canteen IO will focus on the development and implementation of hands-on activities concerning the concept of Climate, Environment, and Food, primarily targeting pupils and teachers in European primary and secondary schools.
The Climate Action in the School Canteen IO will create awareness of climate- and environmental challenges in relation to food, focusing on local food via the new Learn4Earth Learning Triangle and thereby educate pupils through food literacy. It is the ambition to provide the pupils with new knowledge and innovative action competencies to act in a more sustainable way as consumers. Further, the IO will provide the children with new innovative skills on how to prepare climate-friendly meals at home with locally grown foods, while asking questions such as: How low in the food chain is the food? How much energy goes into producing it? Is it grown organically? And how far did it travel to get to the store or table? The Climate Action in the School Canteen IO will involve elements of innovation by taking the next step of the concept from ‘farm to fork’ and include food waste management in the learning objectives, in order to stay true to the IO’s environmental focus. The IO aims to raise awareness about Climate, Environment and Food, and add these relevant world-issues to the school curricula, including learning goals of saving resources, reducing energy use and waste, compensating for carbon footprint emissions and develop options for alternative and more sustainable food options.

The Climate Action in the School Canteen IO will develop teaching in how to reduce food waste, as food waste emits greenhouse gasses when decomposing at the landfill. Therefore, the IO aims at developing innovative teaching programs with issues as recycling food waste, securing that all food waste will be re-used for other beneficial purposes creating awareness for responsible consumption and production.
Another element of innovation in this IO is the focus, analysis and understanding of the food supply chains for school meals while preparing calculations for its footprint and suggest concrete measures and activities for the reduction of the school’s carbon footprint e.g. fewer animal products, more locally produced products etc.

The pupils will be involved in all sides of the Learn4Earth Triangle including food waste management and analysis of food supply chain in order to enhance their knowledge and empower, and support behaviour changes beneficial for the environment.
It is expected that this IO will have an impact on the pupils and enable a behaviour change, as the user-centred and hands-on approach will provide the pupils with skills and competencies, to act more sustainable as citizens and consumers now and in the future, adding also to good health and wellbeing. Further, it is expected that this IO will impact the teachers, as their teaching competencies will be enhanced and that they too will learn from this new knowledge on Climate, Environment and Food and develop a behavioural change as citizens and consumers. Finally, parents are also a target of expected impact, as it is the ambition that the new hands-on activities will be transferable to the home kitchen, where pupils can practise their skills with their parents.