08 SES 14, School Food, Equity and Social Justice – Reflections From a Health Education Perspective Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 08 SES 16
An integrated school foodscape is the physical, organizational , didactical and sociocultural space in which students participate in meals, food related curriculum and pedagogy and encounter food messages - including health, climate and sustainability messages. The analysis draws from theory and methods included in health promoting schools literature, children- and youth studies, foodscape studies and educational studies. Children and adolescents spend five or six days a week at school, thus, it can be said that the school foodscape has an influence in their everyday lives. From a humanistic and rights-based perspective all pupils ought to have equal access to food during the day in school. However, this is not the case in many countries. Even in an affluent country as Denmark, there is no national school food program and, as a consequence of this, many children are hungry in school at times where they were supposed to be satisfied and ready for learning. Results from research indicate that inequality is increasing in Denmark and, in addition to this, socio-economic factors are clearly determining what children eat, depending on whether they come from respectively poor, middle class or rich families. Furthermore, inequality in health and learning outcomes may be equally correlated with socio-economic status of students. It is hypothesised that the food industry has leverage regarding attention from the government on what children eat in Danish schools. In opposition to this, an integrated holistic school foodscape is proposed, in which students themselves plan, prepare and serve their common meals, based on local food products. The LOMA-local food project was conducted in Denmark in 2015-2017, taking into consideration elements such as: education for life, education for life-skills and 21st century skills, including critical thinking about non-sustainable developments and societies. Results show, that in addition to contributing with healthy meals, participation also led to improved action-competence, relations and well-being among pupils. This approach is not difficult to implement in schools – but it starts with the desire for change. Often it is the head of school who paves the way, because an integrated and holistic approach to school food seems to provide the optimal conditions for teachers to find educational success and, accordingly, optimal conditions for children to learn and thrive.
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