There are extremely well-documented reasons why immediate and decisive climate actions are essential to protect our planet. The European Commission has emphasized the importance of consumer behaviour as a key area: “As consumers, citizens have a powerful role to play and personal lifestyle choices can make a real difference.” (European Commission 2018). However, in our globalized food systems, consumers, and especially children are increasingly disconnected from understanding both how and where their food is produced, processed and prepared which can have detrimental effects on our environment (Dyg 2014) (Clausen & Fisker 2017). It is therefore essential to teach, empower and provide young generations with the necessary knowledge and competencies, as they will be the future consumers, whose skills, habits and choices will create and shape a sustainable future. These urgent climate and environmental challenges are what gives Learn4Earth its rationale. With a point of departure in the concept of ‘farm to fork’, Learn4Earth will develop innovative methodologies, approaches and hands-on activities to raise awareness in European Schools about the current climate change challenges and empower and provide pupils with key competencies within the fields of Climate, Environment and Food. Learn4Earth will initiate this innovation by operating from the new innovative learning concept, the Learn4Earth Learning Triangle – The growing, The Lab and The Meal.
The overall objectives of Learn4Earth are:
- To raise the overall awareness about environmental and climate change challenges for pupils in European schools based on interdisciplinary cooperation between schools, research institutions and practices
- To develop key competencies in various sustainability-relevant subjects, i.e. develop green skills, strategies and methodologies, as well as future-oriented curricula that better meet the needs of pupils in everyday life
- To support the testing of innovative practices to prepare children to become true factors of change, e.g. save resources, reduce energy use and waste, compensate carbon footprint emissions, opt for sustainable food and mobility choices, etc.
- To enhance teachers’ education and continuous professional development by developing innovative interdisciplinary teaching approaches and promote and support competence-oriented teaching and learning within the fields of Climate, Environment and Food
- To enable behavioural changes for children and their food preferences, consumption habits and lifestyles through education and training
Learn4Earth is a transnational strategic partnership between 4 European primary and/or secondary schools, and 5 higher education institutions, organisations and food professional organisations from 5 European Countries.
Based on interdisciplinary cooperation Learn4Earth will produce and assess 9 Learn4Earth Intellectual Outputs. Using Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and an interdisciplinary approach the Intellectual Outputs will develop, implement, test and evaluate a wide range of innovative hands-on activities. The results and experiences will be formulated into Teaching Manuals which will all be collected in the Learn4Earth Handbook. The Learn4Earth Handbook will ensure that the results can be disseminated and exploited by all target groups and stakeholders and thereby securing the overall impact and long-term benefits of the project. Learn4Earth will conduct 6 Learning/Teaching/Training Activities as an essential part of the project structure, giving partners and participating pupils the opportunity to work together, workshop, give feedback, evaluations and develop new innovative material, methods and approaches to be implemented and tested in the Intellectual Outputs. Learn4Earth will facilitate 6 Multiplier Events which will be essential activities to target stakeholders outside the project as well as the general public by promoting the Learn4Earth activities.
Through interdisciplinary collaboration, Learn4Earth will develop and create new knowledge alliances to foster innovation in the fields of entrepreneurship, knowledge exchange and interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Learn4Earth will also promote inter-sectoral cooperation, supporting a more effective and innovative approach to education and increasing the innovation potential within the fields of Climate, Environment and Food. Finally, Learn4Earth aims to support and impact Environmental and climate goals by formulating essential recommendations for policymakers, contributing to the European Union’s structures and agendas regarding education in the fields of Climate, Environment and Food.
Nine partners have come together with support from the EU Erasmus+ Programme. Learn4Earth will be led by Aalborg University, Denmark and will be joined by Arden School from Denmark, Primary School Franceta Preserna from Slovenia, Fundació Escoles Garbí from Spain, Washingborough Academy from the United Kingdom, University of Gastronomic Sciences from Italy, Health Education Trust from United Kingdom, Centre for Health and Development Murska Sobota from Slovenia and Taste Lab from Denmark.
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