Food education is an important part of ensuring children understand the role that nutrition plays in their health and wellbeing. That’s why from 19-20 April Monash University, together with the Sandro Demaio Foundation and Federation Square, is launching the 2023 Little Food Festival, which encourages children to better understand the food system with a focus on ensuring a healthier, sustainable and fairer food future.
The free festival is in its fifth year and will run from 19-20 April at Fed Square. The festival will combine education, exploration, creativity and fun to help kids re-imagine what the future of food will look like for them, their families, the community, and the planet.
Ms Deana Leahy, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Monash University says that the event is an opportunity to educate kids in a creative and interactive way.
“We need innovative and creative ways to engage young people to think about sustainability, health and food. The Little Food Festival is really based on this premise,” said Ms Leahy.
“We’ve known for some time that food education isn’t hitting the mark. We’ve been trying to work with a number of partners to see whether we can change up food education so that it’s more fun, creative and participatory. This festival is an opportunity where we can engage with kids and hear their thoughts and feelings about food and health – their own, their family’s and the planet’s.”
Monash University students will be hosting a number of activations including a Food Miles activity, which allows children to see how far their food has travelled and learn about how food ends up on our plates. The University will also be hosting an interactive STEM Food Lab in which children can learn how to pickle in-season foods.
“Part of getting the work out of journals and into a festival like this, allows us to engage with people in many different ways. The festival format brings together parents/carers and children, researchers and University students,” said Ms Leahy.
“Food education can typically spend too much time focusing on disease and illness, instead, in this festival we take a strengths-based approach as a different starting place for the conversation.”
Ms Sharon Pickering, Professor at Monash University, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), and Senior Vice-President said the Little Food Festival is an invaluable community initiative.
“Monash is delighted to play a key role in delivering innovative pedagogical approaches that give our youngest community members a tangible understanding of how their daily choices can positively impact people and planet,” said Ms Pickering.
“Our leading staff experts and passionate students from across Nutrition, Education, Art and Design work closely with industry partners to help kids discover the relationship between food and sustainability through exploration, creativity and fun.”
“Impact 2030 sets out our commitment to building thriving communities, fostering geopolitical security and addressing the climate change challenge. By empowering our kids, the future change leaders, with the tools to make sustainable food choices, we’re supporting the creation of a healthier, safer and more equitable future for all.”
“It’s fantastic working with Monash University, delivering Australia’s first and only food festival just for kids. It’s all about engaging and inspiring a new generation of food leaders, for better human and planetary health. Monash has been critical in ensuring the festival is built from the latest evidence and educational methodologies,” said Dr Sandro Demaio, Founder of the Little Food Festival.
The Little Food Festival is presented by the Sandro Demaio Foundation, Monash University, Fed Square, the City of Melbourne and AIA.
To learn more, please visit: https://fedsquare.com/events/little-food-festival
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