Food memories and the One Planet Picnic

I recently attended a Health and Wellbeing Event organised by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and Edinburgh City Council. This article, the second of two blog entries about the workshops I attended at the event, looks at encouraging healthy eating and sustainable food choices.

Evelyn Wilkins, Web Content Editor, GTC Scotland

As soon as I walked into the room a rubber apple was thrown my way: “My name’s Eve and I like apples! What’s your name?” Catching the ball I hastily replied, “My name’s Evelyn and I like . . . sausages” – it wasn’t a hard game to pick up. The game continued as we threw the apple around the room. Then it got trickier as more apples were introduced and began flying backwards and forwards, and new elements to the game were added.

In its final stage the game had progressed on to talking about our favourite food memories. Eve started us off:

“My favourite food memory is when I gave my son ice cream for the first time and he got his whole face absolutely covered in it!”

As we talked about our food memories it became clear that these were associated with positive experiences, often with family. Eve explained that food is not just about eating, it’s about family, memories and experiences.

Eve Keepax is a Food and Environment Officer with Eco-Schools Scotland and her work involves educating children and young people about food and the environment. During the workshop Eve talked about different ways teachers can encourage children to develop a healthier relationship with food and to learn about where our food comes from.

The One Planet Picnic

One of the topics discussed was the One Planet Picnic, an event all about encouraging healthy and sustainable food choices. The One Planet Picnic is run by the environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful as part of its Eco-Schools programme. Schools and youth groups can get involved by organising and hosting a picnic.

What makes a One Planet Picnic special is that it includes food that is good for you and good for the environment. That means that it includes local, seasonal, organic and ethically sourced produce. This might include berries or fruit picked locally, or vegetables grown in the school garden for example. The picnic should also minimise waste, so you should try to reduce the amount of food packaging used, and what you serve the food on should be recyclable/reusable. Any left-over food should also be composted where possible.

This year, rather than running for only two weeks, the One Planet Picnic will last from June right through to September, so that it becomes a Commonwealth project. And linked to this, for the first time, the Picnic is being shared right across the world with all Eco-Schools in the Commonwealth taking part. This offers an exciting opportunity for schools in Scotland to link up and share recipes with schools in other countries. And, as well as recipes, those taking part can share culture, food stories (e.g. the giant turnip) and playground games that can be used at the picnic.

Learn more about the One Planet Picnic

How does this relate to the Curriculum for Excellence?

The One Planet Picnic is a great way to get young people interested in learning about where our food comes from and how it is produced, as well as exploring new types of food and recipes. Food can also be used to introduce children to a wide range of other issues, such as environmental and sustainability issues.

Eve talked about how food can be tied in with all sorts of different topics that you might be covering in school. For example, for early learners, food and the environment could be linked in with the curriculum in the following ways:

  • For social studies you could examine the different roles people play in the local community (food producers, processors and retailers).
  • For numeracy and mathematics you could collect different types of food packaging and look at their different materials, sizes, shapes, colours, etc.
  • For RME you could look at celebrations that involve particular types of foods.
  • For science you could look at food chains.
  • For technologies you could look at refrigeration and cooking.

More about how Eco-Schools and the On Planet Picnic can be tied in with the Curriculum for Excellence can be found online:

Visit the Keep Scotland Beautiful website

About the health and wellbeing event

In addition to Eve’s workshop exploring happy healthy eating experiences, a variety of other workshops were held at the event aimed at helping and supporting teachers to achieve health and wellbeing. The event highlighted that social and emotional wellbeing is a professional development priority for all adults working with children and young people in education.

The range of issues covered through the workshops included

  • tools and techniques from neurolinguistic programming and cognitive behavioural therapy;
  • exploring how to manage challenging situations through developing emotional intelligence;
  • learning how to recognise personal stress pressure points and understand the triggers;
  • tips for promoting the positive mental health and wellbeing of staff and young people.

Read about the workshop I attended on managing stress and increasing presence in the classroom:

Managing stress: what can we learn from martial arts?

Find out about other EIS events:

Visit the EIS website