Hand-picked dinners

Elsa Klever

Urban Art Now

Urban Art Now
Amsterdam, Netherlands

How can we help people to place a greater value on nutrition?

Spinach makes you strong. Too much bread makes you bloated. Carrots are good for your eyes, and blueberries help with hangovers. A grapefruit contains a huge amount of vitamin C, and vegetables are great for the figure. Burgers make you fat, as does pizza and any other fast-food.
We've all heard these clichés, yet continue to eat whatever we fancy. Because we can, and because there's so much choice. It's practically unheard of for people to go into the field or to the barn for food for the evening meal. We go to the supermarket or the fast-food joint on the corner. We eat on the go or buy products that need to be released from their plastic wrappers before we can eat them.
We've forgotten that nutrition is valuable, and that our bodies are organisms that need nutrients to survive. After all, nutrition is the key to life, and is essential in making sure that we continue to function correctly, and that our brains keep working and our arms and legs keep moving. That we go through life strong and healthy.
We don't know very much about agriculture. Most people in Germany live in cities, surrounded by the concrete jungle. For us, nature is the little park down the road. 28-year-old Ulrike, a teacher from Cologne, has set up the "GemüseAckerdemie" [vegetable academy] project, with the primary aim of getting children into the field and back into nature. She wants children to know exactly what is on their plates, and where the vegetables that they eat every day actually come from - how they're grown. What a carrot looks like after it's been pulled out of the ground. How long you have to wait after planting before you can harvest potatoes. How a seed turns into a cucumber.
In the "GemüseAckerdemie", children learn how to sow seeds, and have to look after the plants right through to harvest, when they bring them to market themselves. Being involved in this entire process helps to develop the children's awareness of nutrition and food production.
Ulrike's school project is a good start. A good start, and the first step in answering the question of what we can do to help attach greater importance to the issue of nutrition. So what else needs doing?
"Eat vegetables. No fast-food," writes Manuel, 13, and Emelie, 18: "Without food, we just can't function. And that's why we shouldn't just randomly stuff ourselves with bad food."
We could maybe take something from the interesting comments of Jonathan, 26: "Introduce children to the topic in a fun and exciting way, without any of the usual appeals."
It does seem to be the case that the issue of "healthy eating" is not considered very "fun", but is instead associated with sensibleness and discipline, and immediately reminds people of those boring food pyramids from kindergarten. Wolfgang Adelwarth, food expert at the German Society for Consumer Research (GfK), once said: "The issue of nutrition, eating and cooking is of less importance in Germany than in more southern countries." Not many families cook together regularly as a key part of family life. We need to change this through ideas such as Generation25. By making farming and harvesting fun, rather than just sitting in front of dry, boring textbooks. More practical learning and less theory, ideally from as early as kindergarten age.



  • Title: Hand-picked dinners
  • Creator: Elsa Klever
  • Creator Nationality: German
  • Creator Gender: female
  • Type: Illustration

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