Currently the focus in food education is on nutrition, on what are “good’ and “bad” foods and it is not creating the change that is intended. When children are taught to play an instrument or to paint, they are not taught what is good or bad but to enjoy and appreciate the music, to develop an understanding of culture and pleasure. If food is taught in a similar way perhaps young people can form a more positive lifelong affinity.
History only became a subject in Universities and in schools in the early nineteen hundreds. It is hard to visualise a time when it was considered unimportant, but it is an example of how the educational cannon can be moulded and is not as fixed as we may think. If we treat food as a subject situated within the humanities rather than in a narrow health framework how different might it look? We could start to build towards a future of enjoyment and creativity that can be developed and nurtured throughout life.
Michelle Darmody is a food writer for The Irish Examiner, as well as being a researcher and food consultant. She is currently working alongside Green Schools to develop a Food and Biodiversity Flag as well as setting up a policy network to address Food in Schools. https://greenschoolsireland.org/
Photo Credit: Fergal Philips