This week has been busy for Culture Shift and for their stomachs, as we have had two days of great food and exercises with the school children from Billund and Jelling. The theme of the second workshop for both the groups was in fact ‘picnic’… Skovtur! We spent the day not only eating but also reflecting about our favourite food, where the food comes from and enjoying the community feeling that comes with sharing our favourite meal with our friends on a picnic blanket.
“If I had more time…I would eat more of the cake she made!” (said with the mouth full of cake)
The fifty children from the International School and Billund Skolen were asked to bring some food from home, something from their home country or something they particularly liked to eat. First, they decorated, with colourful pens, pieces of crockery: cups and plates. They were asked to reflect about the journey of the food they had brought.
“What did you bring?”
“Where do you think that sandwich comes from?”
“What is the bread made out of”
“Where does the flour come from?”
“ Where do you think the corn have been planted” etc..
Without being too strict about practicalities, the idea was to let their fantasies fly, to the point where some drawings turned into monsters, which in this case became a funny meal for the group.
The activity also allowed the children to become aware of the processes behind food production and consumption - about the circularity of the production-chain. Connecting sometimes the various steps with arrows, the elements drawn were representing the origin of the food, but also the different ingredients, modes of transportation, and the physical space where the food could be picked up, like supermarkets and/or family gardens.
After the break we got back into groups around the still-white tablecloths on the floor, for the much anticipated picnic time! Everyone presented what they had brought and then proceeded to share their food with the rest of the group. Cookies from Australia, brownies with marshmallows from the U.S., fresh strawberries and danish rice puddings, all circulated around the group, accompanied by comments, observations, doubts and questions about the ingredients, the recipes, and the making phase.
After the picnic, it was time to decorate the white blanket we were sitting on, drawing our favourite meal… not just with pencils and crayons, but also with the left overs of the food we had just eaten!
From the red part of the strawberries left close to the leaf, we had a light red colour to draw hearts. From tabasco sauce we got the orange, and from the chocolate crumbs, we got brown.
Lucy explained how artists in the past had used food to make colours for their creations, for example beetroot or spinach leaves mixed with eggs in order to keep the consistency.
We were delighted when one of the girls bravely stood up to defend her opinion about food waste, a topic which had been explored and researched in her school class. It is really important for Culture Shift that the children have the chance to raise their opinions and therefore encourage their participation in the workshops. Having these insights also enriches the Belong project with new ideas, reflections and considerations for the future.