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Eat locally, think globally! Educational and activating campaign for schools

A growing demand for organic food can be observed in Poland. According to a study conducted by the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in 2014, 52% of Poles buy organic food, including 11% regularly. At the same time, according to a survey carried out by the CBOS opinion polling institute in 2013, almost 73% of Poles buy at least half of their groceries in discount stores. Low prices of food sold in grocery chains usually mean that social and environmental costs are transferred outside the companies, the business practices of which often eliminate small food producers from the market.

According to FAO, Sustainable Development Goal 2, which envisages achieving food security in different regions of the world, is the key to achieving the other objectives of Sustainable Development. In order to achieve it, it is necessary to implement changes in food production and consumption by building sustainable agriculture and food production systems that would be more efficient, equitable, and resistant to climate change.

Food is an attractive subject for students (easy to link to everyday life issues), and at the same time it relates to the key challenges of today, which include deteriorating quality of food, environmental degradation, and growing climate change, as well as the problem of hunger and the disappearance of small-scale farming across the world. Apart from showing the complexity of the subject matter, the project aims to promote sustainable production, consumption, and distribution of food.

Eat locally, think globally! Educational and activating campaign for schools

The project is part of the international project EAThink2015. Global Learning for Change in EYD2015 and Beyond: European Youth Engagement from School Gardens to Sustainable Food Systems implemented by the Polish Green Network since March 2015. This three-year educational campaign addressed at primary, middle, and secondary schools in ten European countries, Burkina Faso, and Senegal, which aims to strengthen the potential of the youth and teachers with respect to the skill of critical understanding of global issues and active engagement in their resolution.

The project is aimed directly at teachers (approx. 160 participants) and students (approx. 950 participants) from ten schools in the Slaskie, Malopolskie and Mazowieckie voivodeships. It consists of three main components: a methodical and activation module for teachers (working group meetings, educational package Eat locally, think globally! and workshops for teaching staff councils in schools); an education and activation module for students (modular workshops for students, journalism workshops for students, school picnics with local co-operatives and an urban game during the Global Education Week). In addition, the promotion of the nationwide educational campaign will include the educational exhibition Urban gardens.

Teachers will learn about topics related to global food production and consumption, and will receive the educational package Eat locally, think globally – 21 lesson plans for students at the second, third, and fourth education level, created as part of the project Change your habits for good. Buy responsibly clothes and electronic equipment, implemented in 2015 and co-financed under the Global Education 2015 call for proposals. The lesson plans raise the most important food-related issues, with a particular emphasis given to the global and local contexts, i.e. the impact of food production, consumption, and distribution on the environment, food distribution models, nutrition styles, the importance of individual choices and the ability to change the existing model of food production and distribution. The package will also be promoted on the websites of the Polish Green Network (globalnepoludnie.pl, zielonasiec.pl, dlaklimatu.pl), and its partnering organisations and institutions, including the Otwarty Plan foundation (otwartyplan.org), Marshal’s Office of the Malopolskie Voivodeship (wrotamalopolski.pl), Grupa Zagranica (zagranica.org.pl), Foundation Education for Democracy (fed.edudemo.org.pl), international partners and Polish educational web portals, such as: zielonalekcja.pl, ulicaekologiczna.pl. e-globalna.edu.pl, koed.org.pl (Coalition for Open Education), ngo.pl.

The world on a plate workshops have been planned in schools of Malopolskie, Slaskie, and Mazowieckie voivodeships. They are aimed at improving the knowledge and competence of students with respect to food-related global interdependence. A total of thirty workshop series (sixty modules) will be conducted in thirty different schools/institutions.

In this way, students at the second, third, and fourth education levels will broaden their knowledge of global interdependence, increase their sustainable lifestyle skills, and will be encouraged to actively implement the Sustainable Development Goals in their communities.

Students from ten schools involved in the project will participate in practical and interactive journalism workshops How to write about the most of the world?. Articles written by groups of participants will be published on the project’s international website (an international blog run by young people), as well as on the websites of individual schools and the Polish Green Network.

School picnics involving local co-operatives will also be held to promote the practical dimension of sustainable agriculture, urban-rural cooperation, and social economy. Three picnics have been planned in Krakow (for students from Krakow and Olkusz), Katowice (for students from Katowice and Piekary Slaskie) and Warsaw (for students from Warsaw and Puszcza Marianska).

Another Fair Train urban game will be held in Katowice during the Global Education Week to promote sustainable development, human rights, and responsible consumption. It will be attended by students from Katowice schools. Groups of students will go through some thirteen thematic stations, devoted to selected Sustainable Development Goals and located in the very centre of Katowice, to perform various tasks related to the themes raised at each station. The issues include human rights and environmental protection with a particular emphasis on the social and environmental costs of food production and consumption.

The Urban Gardens interactive educational exhibition will be prepared to promote the project among the youth and general public. A similar exhibition will be created in eleven countries of the project’s partnering organisations. Its overriding idea is to show sustainable solutions for food production and consumption in the context of global interdependence, including the social and environmental dimensions involved. The exhibition will be shown in public spaces (community centres, shopping malls, schools, squares) throughout the duration of the project.

Eat locally, think globally! Educational and activating campaign for schools

The main outcomes of the project included raising participants’ awareness about global food-related interdependencies, encouraging activism for the cause of sustainable lifestyles, and raising public awareness of sustainable food production and consumption systems and their impact on the environment and society.

The project incorporated 10 workshops for teacher councils and 4 meetings of teacher working groups, 62 workshop modules for students, and 10 journalism workshops. It also included the publication of an educational package titled “Eat locally, think globally,” which included materials prepared by an expert: specifically, 21 lesson scenarios, seven for each of the three educational phases (primary, middle and secondary), presenting selected issues of global education. Moreover, each scenario includes an activity section that aims to inspire students to do activities such as organise an eco-picnic or an urban game, or set up a garden on school grounds.

The project also prepared an interactive exhibition titled “Urban Gardens,” which had 12,000 visitors over its three presentations in 2016. The project also involved the organisation of school picnics in Warsaw, Katowice and Cracow, which, in addition to local cooperatives, invited experts, farmers and individuals actively engaged in the promotion of sustainable agriculture and responsible consumption. The project also carried out an extensive internet-based information campaign.

The project directly engaged 1,357 teachers and 1,573 students, and its exhibition was visited by about 12,000 people; its media presence, including on social media, reached more than 1,847,500 people.