In 2015, four Generation Earth members started an Action Project, called “Eat for Change.” Due to high interest from teachers at the BRG (school) in Vienna, we were invited back to run the program a second time! The project looks at the connection between our food (what we eat) and the inherent ecological impacts. When we looked at the existing school curriculum, our team (Magdalena, Sophie, Hannes and Clemens) felt like the topic was simply not included enough and thus was the catalyst for our project. In total, we have prepared eight hours of workshops in which students from different age groups are confronted with the topic of sustainable eating! Our ulimate goal is to get young people to change their thinking about what their eating! so that they think twice about what they eat and consider the consequences of their purchasing power on the climate, environment, animals and people.
June 2016: The first go.
Before the school summer break of 2016, our “Eat for Change” team was invited to run the program at the BRG (school) in Vienna. We eagerly “tested” it out on 5th grade students using many interactive and fun methods of learning. Our workshop is based on 4 modules that starts with an introduction to the topic, and from there, we attempt to deepen the students’ understanding of the global connection between food, transport, climate, and environment as well as the health aspects of a meat-rich diet. We look at the power of the individual and his/her role in the big picture. At the end, we ask the students where they see opportunities for making a change (“eating for change”) and what each person can do to get active! Each of the 4 modules lasts about 2 school hours (45 min ea.) and is built on the principle of interaction. After the first “run” we got quite a lot of positive feedback, and as it turned out, we then had more requests from teachers to present it again, then we had time for, at least in our volunteer capacity!
November 2016: a new challenge arises!
We realized that we were facing a whole new challenge when we entered the class in the new school year on November 16th. As we looked out at the faces of the students, they weren’t the young, interested faces of a class full of 5th grade girls, but 15 pubescent boys in the 2nd grade, who seemed to live off pizza and burgers! Naturally, we had prepared ourselves as best we could and adjusted the materials/program for the new participants. In all the boys were curious and sweet, but we realized quickly that it might have been a bit too much and “over their heads” for this age group.
It’s now 2017: Where do we go from here?
The theme of nutrition and food choice, is something we all are confronted with day-in, day-out! From this perspective, we don’t want to just “throw in the towel” and say, “done!” now that we completed our set of workshops.
Right now, we’re working on an exhibition on the topic of sustainable eating with multiple classes from both groups and encouraging them to express themselves through the arts.
The 2nd graders were mostly interested in producing videos and the work of creating a concept and script will take place in the next few weeks. In addition to the videos, it is likely that they will use still photography and theater in their compositions.
The brainstorming with the now 6th grade class, from the first go round, will take place in January. It will be especially interesting to observe how the different age groups work (or not) together!
Interested in learning more about our workshop? Check it out here!