Thousands of primary school pupils have contributed to the revival of Slovenia's culinary heritage and the promotion of Slovenia through food over the 12 years of the Kuhnapato project. Through peer motivation and intergenerational communication, they have succeeded in engaging their peers in adopting basic skills to maintain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
Food is the source of life and health, both for us and for the nature that makes it possible. With a certain amount of flexibility, a willingness to reflect, and a desire to change our tastes even if this requires compromise, we can first help ourselves and then everyone around us through example, teachings and actions.
Slovenian primary school pupils, whose age limit for participation in project activities is lowering and sometimes even reaches the youngest pupils in the first grade, prepare simple dishes from rare local ingredients that are available at the time of year and are typical of the geographical conditions of the landscape.
“We want the phrase ‘sustainable development’ and a sustainable lifestyle to become a reality, part of a child's conscious everyday life. The dishes that end up on the plates in school kitchens are only part of the whole sustainability process. It should start with a walk in the meadow, the woods, the conscious observation of nature, gaining knowledge (and education) about the possible uses of things that until now have only been taken for granted in nature, and then the process can continue in the home garden or with a neighbouring small producer of local seasonal foods, and reaching for the most natural products from the local surroundings from store shelves. Let it continue with planning appropriate quantities and considering ‘natural storage’ methods to avoid throwing away food that’s already prepared or still raw”, emphasises Anka Peljhan, Kuhnapato’s project manager, adding: “All this has been part of our mission for almost 13 years, but this time it's for real, more than ever. With the help of hundreds of responsible, subject-aware teacher-mentors, we have already learned a lot. And this year we once again appeal to primary schools and units of the Centre for School and Outdoor Education (CŠOD), with which we have also been working successfully for many years, to try again, with joint forces, willpower and small steps, making as few mistakes as possible, listening as much as possible to nature, which will be grateful to us, as will our bodies and consequently our health, which is the foundation for a successful life.”
- Children to Children is part of the title of the Kuhnapato project and one of the main motivators to encourage adolescents to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the area of nutrition. Photo: Kuhnapato project
- Slovenian primary school pupils prepare simple dishes from rare local ingredients that are available at the time of year and are typical of the geographical conditions of the landscape. Photo: Kuhnapato project
This year's 13th season of the Kuhnapato project will further raise awareness about the need to eat responsibly.
To make the cooking campaigns even more exciting, “clovers” will be awarded. Each school or CŠOD unit will be able to earn a clover for each activity using seasonal ingredients from the surrounding area. At the end of the year, a jury will count the clovers and reward some of the most efficient public institutions.
Anka Peljhan says they are looking forward to lots of tasty delights, fun in the kitchen, gaining understanding of responsible eating and learning new skills.
Succeeding in the world
In autumn 2018, the European Commission, on the initiative of the Slovenian Ministry of Health, named the Kuhnapato project as one of the top ten best practices in Europe in the field of promoting health and a sustainable lifestyle.
In spring 2021, on the initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Kuhnapato joined the global Food System Summit movement, under the auspices of the UN, and has been presented virtually on several occasions to entities responsible for food around the world. Later, the project was integrated into a coalition to improve school meals (and the drive to ensure children's right to school meals worldwide) and a coalition for healthy eating for adolescents (including the fight against hunger or malnutrition and food waste).
In October 2022, the project was presented on the sidelines of the World Food Forum (WFF) in Rome, at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).
In August 2023, the cooperation with the Government Communication Office was revived with the reprint of a booklet entitled Grandma's Kitchen (originally published for the purpose of activities in Washington DC, where, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Washington, Slovenian meals were offered to the local school system), a booklet of typical regional dishes that has been used for many years to promote Slovenia around the world.
The Kuhnapato project is co-financed by the Ministry of Health and sponsored by Spar Slovenia.
More about the project on kuhnapato.si
Date: 17. October 2023
Time to read: 3 min