Pedagogy | Why include food education in school curricula?

“Damn it, food is life!” ” The journalist Olivier Dauversknown for his outspokenness, said everything to what we all think quietly. “And in this sense, knowing how to eat is as important if not more than knowing that 1+1=2! » Learning to eat: as important as learning to read and write and to count.

On May 24, on the occasion of Mardis de Medfel and the video presentation of European harvest forecasts for nectarine peaches, Medfel offered a round table on food education, with Olivier Dauvers and Florence Dupraz, Director of Open Agri Food.

Fighting for food education is so obvious that many organizations have made it their fight.

Round table on food education, led by Olivier Masbou, with the director of Open Agri Food Florence Durpaz and the journalist Olivier Dauvers.

© Screenshot – FLD/Medfel

Why is it common sense to want to put food education back at the heart of concerns?

As Olivier Dauvers explains, it is appropriate, firstly, to take note of the disconnection between society and its agriculture. How to retrick this link?

Second, sociologically, the transmission of intra-family knowledge has been lost. Choose, cook, enjoy… “Food intake has changed, more and more meals are taken in front of the fridge, standing up in the American style. The family is no longer this time to education. The meals at the table, it is in the canteen that they happen », regrets Florence Dupraz.

Third, the proven link between diet and health. It is therefore also a question of public health and its cost. Health costs linked to poor nutrition are estimated at around twenty billion euros per year. ! Food education is therefore not a cost but an investment! », claims Olivier Dauvers.

Why now ?

Lockdown and its restrictions have accelerated these trends. “When restaurants closed, we saw young people who don’t know how to eat other than fast food stand in line in front of the Crous ! Because they don’t even know that with a potato and a carrot you can eat! It is an example, it is not a generality, but it is a reality and a negative dynamic”, testifies, alarmed, Florence Dupraz.

Why in school curricula?

Among the projects, a Manifesto for food education for everyone and everywhere, was presented on March 3 at the International Agricultural Show. At the initiative of this project: Olivier Dauvers, founder of the Agrifood think tank – Les Echos; Open AgriFood; the fresh food association Acofal (Interfel, CNIPT, Interbev and France Filière Pêche); and the Euro-Toques association. The objective of this project is to (re)put food at the heart of school programs, from kindergarten to terminale, in order to remind people of the importance of eating well from an early age.

Whether many initiatives have been put in place, on the right, on the leftby teachers involved, by Taste Week…, they are not generalized everywhere, and therefore not all children and adolescents have access to them. There is nothing like school programs to engrave this obligation in stone.

“School canteens, which close at 2 p.m., could be places for education, as long as we manage to get teachers and national education, RHD and local authorities to work together, believes Florence Dupraz. Already, let’s start with use lunchtime to learn to taste, to develop a palette of tastes and access diversity. »

© FLD Archives – Julia Commander

The canteen is now sometimes the only time when the meal is taken seated, at the table, and therefore a place to be favored for food education. (c) Julia Commander – FLD

Cultivate, cook, taste, choose: an educational journey in four pillars

Know how to make the main dishes and basic recipes of our diet to then be able to manage on your own with fresh products. A few sauces, a vinaigrette, a béchamel… And learn to decode the information on the packaging (list of ingredients, sweetening powers, origin of the ingredients, impact on the finished product…). The dream and ambition of the writers and signatories of the manifesto.

School programs are not unfortunately not expandable. Food is in competition with other important subjects such as sustainable development, sex educationphysical and artistic activities… which are added to the basics of French, mathematics, history-geography… “We set ourselves an ambition of one hour a week, focusing on small classes for the playful side », explains Florence Dupraz. Four areas of learning are claimed: cultivate, cook, taste. And choose !

“Food is first learned by growing, by doing, by observing, not in books. We can see it very well: small spots are not enoughTop Chef and other shows never got people who didn’t cook to get into it. », believes Florence Dupraz. As for knowing his food, the varieties, the origin, the products according to the ingredients and the labels… Olivier Dauvers estimates: “If we know what we are buying, we give more meaning to its purchase. Raising the awareness of future consumer buyers will help support our French farmers. It is therefore a convergence of interests. » And to give the confusing example of the Charentais melon, variety and not origin.

What about the “calendar”?

The co-signatories of the Manifesto are, as mentioned above, Open Agri Food, the Agrifood think tank Les Echos, Acopole, Euro-Toques, but also the association Les Enfants Cuisinent. Since March 3, the manifesto has collected more than a thousand signatories: companies, institutions, parents, companies… “The teachers follow us. I think that communities are not refractory. There is political support despite expressed “, explains Forence Dupraz. And with the parents of students? According to the research firm Mon Avis Citoyen, 80% of parents are convinced of the merits of food education and some are even ready to pay (50 € on average) for this.

But the work of conviction is not so fast as that. The new ministers will have many files to work on. The Idea of ​​the Manifesto Stakeholders : work with the Higher Program Council for a pilot on a level and a geographical area.

“Food education is a real challenge and it works. Finland and Japan, which have included food education in school curricula, have seen a 50% drop in childhood obesity in five years. I think that if we manage to set up a pilot, the rest will come easily. There is a real expectation and a real awareness”concludes Florence Dupraz.

The petition can be found and signed on the Open Agro Food website. With 150,000 signatures, the Manifesto ” could contact the EESC “.

Pedagogy | Why include food education in school curricula?