KA2: “From Seed to Spoon”

KA2 – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
KA201 – Strategic Partnerships for school education

From 01-09-2019 to 31-08-2022

Catholic University of Piacenza, UCSC (coordinator, IT)

  1. Institute of Vocational Education Training IEK MORFI (GR)
  2. I.S.I.S.S. Secondary School Magnaghi-Solari Salsomaggiore Terme (IT)
  3. Parks and Biodiversity Management Authority –Western Emilia – Ente di Gestione per i Parchi e la Biodiversità Emilia Occidentale (IT)
  4. Parma Municipality (IT)
  5. Liceul Tehnologic Nicolae Balcescu (Alexandria Romania)
  6. DinglegymnasietAB- Upper secondary school in the green sector (Sweden)
  7. OpenTEA- start-up company (development of e-learning courses (IT)

One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is the rapidly growing urban populations and the consequent increasing demand of food. Providing the inhabitants of European cities with affordable, safe, and nutritious food is both urgent and complex. Moreover, the health and wellbeing of EU citizens and consumers are directly affected by the way cities and agriculture landscapes are shaping a sustainable food environment. “From Seed to Spoon” is an educational project on the food supply chain developed for high school students whose aim is the implementation of ecosystem services and sustainable agriculture in cities and peri-urban natural areas in different European Countries (Greece, Italy, Romania, Sweden).

Our project will encourage teenagers to be aware of how complex the food system is, improving mindful eating and healthy eating habits according to the EAT-Lancet Commission which gives guidelines for healthy and sustainable diets. In addition, the project will give also the possibility to students to get in touch with nature, to learn how to respect it and how to adapt to the biological cycles. The project will also increase the awareness that nature is not just decoration. Rather, it also provides “living” infrastructures required for an adequate physical, psychological and social development.

During the project, the use of innovative learning strategies (e-learning, cooperative learning, peer education, work-based learning) will support natural learning passion, promote community awareness, critical thinking, and problem solving in citizens facing a crucial transitional stage (adolescents). In addition, the project will promote the development of key competences in the use of ICTs (use of an interactive e-learning platform, online courses, development of audio-visual materials), as well in science and in the application of the scientific method while working closely to researchers and spending time in academic environments. This will also help teenagers to fight back in the war against fake news and to cope with the “post-truth society” era. During cooperative learning and peer education activities, students will develop basic skills in mother tongue language, while during interactions with experts/specialists, researchers of UCSC, students and citizens from other Countries, they will also develop skills in English language. The implementation of the project across different geographic areas within Europe will also help students expand their knowledge, share data and ideas, and build understanding and communication skills across different cultures.

Participants will be able to manage any existing stereotypes and/or fears regarding not only international and intercultural contacts, but also regarding people with fewer opportunities, because students with special educational need and students of Extra UE origin will be part of working and visiting groups. The number of participants to e-learning courses will be according to school facilities present in each school (internet connection, PC), but possibly it will be not less than 50 students from  each partner. Participants to lab activities and on-the-job activities will by 6 students, about half females and half males and possibly 1 student with special educational need or of Extra UE origin. 2 accompanying teachers selected from the teaching staff of the school will be included during visiting periods. Among them, one will be a certified Special Education teacher if a participant student needs extra support. We believe that our project will help participant students not only in their everyday professional/entrepreneurial activities but, most of all, in their life.

Participating organizations will instead gain new international contacts and partnership opportunities for future activities and increase important skills of their staff. The project will also have a significant impact on the protection of the environment and on land development. Indeed, the enhancement of ecosystem services may produce benefits on (and stakeholders will benefit from): microclimate, local air quality, noise reduction, binding of carbon and carbon dioxide, increased value of real estate, tourism, education, recreation. It is expected that our project will contribute positively to the implementation of policies related to the principles of sustainable development. In particular, at the regional, national, European and even International level, the desired impact of our project is the spread of its key (i.e., the tight link existing between “seed” and “spoon”) to a community as wide as possible. The issues addressed by our project are indeed of a wide general interest, and it will also contribute to the promotion EU values connected with the socio-educational and personal development of youth. In the same way, we would also expect that our project will lead to an increased debate at an international level about the covered issues and to the launch of wide-ranging initiative.

Our project will develop in teenagers innovative learning pathways based on different strategies (elearning, cooperative learning, peer education, work-based learning, etc.) promoting a sense of meaningful engagement in school and a sense of efficacy and mattering, that can be particularly powerful given the challenges of this developmental stage.

The implementation of the project across different geographic areas within Europe will also help the students expand their knowledge on food supply chain in different areas (characterised by different biogeography, climate, culture, lifestyle, eating habits, etc.), share data and ideas, and enriched after mobility experiences. This will also give students the opportunity to build understanding and communication skills across different cultures.