WeValueFood has educated, engaged and advanced the young Europeans’ knowledge of and appreciation of food, thereby empowering the next generations to make the best choices about the food that they eat. WeValueFood was a 2-year grand challenge project funded by EIT involving 12 European partners from education, academia and industry, communication sectors. The project ran from 2019-2020 and was led by Queen’s University Belfast.
With society facing major problems in terms of obesity, food waste and the environment, the need for next generation consumers to make improved food choices has never been more important. Unfortunately, we are also facing decreasing levels of engagement and knowledge about our food, particularly among our youth. It is difficult to encourage the next generation to make improved food choices if their engagement and comprehension of food is poor.
#WeValueFood has engaged with students from primary, secondary and tertiary education all over Europe, as well as parents, educators, and representatives from the European agri-food industry.
WeValueFood has tackled the erosion of society’s engagement with our food by:
- Providing a pan-European online inventory of existing educational resources to help teachers engage students on the topic of food
- Creating new tools and strategies for educating students from a primary, secondary and tertiary level about food
- Modifying and scaling up food engagement tools particularly in regions where levels of food disengagement are high and young people lack knowledge about food
- Helping the food industry learn how to engage with next generation consumers in a positive and healthy way
- Inspiring a community of European Food Champions, a network of food-savvy young consumers who will share their food values via peer-to-peer communication
- Work together with high-profile Food Stars (e.g. chefs and social media influencers) to spread the WeValueFood message
WeValueFood has focused on five areas of food knowledge:
- The origin of food (where does food come from?)
- Food production (how is food made?)
- Food and health (how do we eat healthily?)
- Food waste (how to reduce our own food waste?)
- Food and the environment (how does what we eat affect our world?
WeValueFood has developed a network of food-savvy young consumers, called ‘Food Champions’. These Food Champions were recruited from the UK, Spain and Iceland, and inspired their peers through sharing food-related information on social media and school networks. This way, they contributed towards a society that is more knowledgeable and engaged with matters around our food, health and planet. Food Champions Press Release
Decision Support Tool for Educators
We have created a decision support tool, called Database for Educators: Choices for Incorporating Food (DECIFood), that can be used by educators across primary, secondary and tertiary education levels, to help them retrieve and utilise various food education tools and strategies, based on defined criteria selected by educators. These tools and strategies focus on various food topics.
In 2019, we gathered over 350 tools from countries across Europe (UK, Italy, Israel, Iceland, Finland, Spain and Poland), and tested the support tool with educators in the UK and Poland. In 2020, we added the remaining tools from Spain, Finland and Iceland. The user-friendly DECIFood tool will be hosted by QUB. Access the DECIFood tool here
Project Leadership: Paul Bereton, Queen’s University Belfast
Contact details: WeValueFood@qub.ac.uk