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Culture, food and education: hand in hand with Erasmus?

2021-05-13

Today I come to talk to you about education and food. I come to talk to you about European gastronomic culture and how each one is part of a common whole. Why does this interest us? To begin with, because the nutritional education inspired by the Mediterranean Diet that was left to us by inheritance, is closely linked to the history and the geographical and social characteristics of the Mediterranean basin, where Portugal is located.

Then, because all the knowledge associated with it is based on natural and proximity products, consumed in your season, which makes it a sustainable kitchen of memories and flavors. Finally, because living together at the table is an element of cultural identity and ancestral continuity, which emphasizes the values ​​of hospitality, intercultural dialogue and creativity.

In addition to Fado, which represents us internationally, the Mediterranean Diet was the second Portuguese element to be included in the list of intangible heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), reinforcing its attribute of preserved cultural expression, in respect to their ancestry, for future generations. In the continuation of these ideas and embodying the mission of the University of Aveiro to create and transmit knowledge, promoting training for citizenship, the FairFood for a Smart Life Project, financed by the European Commission under the Erasmus + program, led by the University of Malaga.

In addition to the University of Aveiro, the project also involves Spanish, Italian and Belgian universities that, in a consortium, are working on creating resources for students of professional education in the areas of hospitality, cuisine, catering and nutrition, both at the secondary level. as at the top level. As it is a project that wants to involve the whole community, the educational products are distributed at a basic level and at an advanced level, organized in different languages, which make use of an online platform on traditional food, of a repository on techniques conservation and preparation, and ten courses on healthy eating based on natural and proximity foods. Everything in open access.

To achieve its objectives, the FairFood project also has the involvement of several specialist partners in each country. In this path built by everyone, we already have the institutional collaborations of the Association of Professional Cooks of Portugal, the Association of Professional Schools of Portugal, through the Professional School of Fundão, and the Portuguese Association of Nutrition. Of note is the ready enthusiasm that each of our associates is placing in their participation, in favor of those who help to form and the applicability of knowledge. With them we have been working with the purpose of contributing to a correct nutritional education capable of preserving the European culinary cultural heritage and minimizing the ecological footprint.

How can the reader also collaborate? Through contributions linked to those traditional knowledge that we do not want to fall into oblivion. Do you know or integrate any entity that may be interested in joining us? Did you keep any of your grandmother's recipes, which she liked so much? Do you know of anyone who still uses ancient knowledge related to agriculture? Do you remember any technique for preserving or making food that is hardly used anymore? This is what we want to preserve. This is what we want to recover, collect and disseminate. Between us and those who will stay after us. To protect the continuity of a people's culture.

Find out all about this project at https://www.fairfoodproject.eu/ and contact us to tell us how you can collaborate in this shared growth of memories. You can do it to margarida.pinheiro@ua.pt

This is the message I want to leave you with today: that the knowledge of a people's culture is part of their education and that food is one of the highest exponents of our interculturality. It is our common responsibility to keep alive the knowledge that has brought us here.

It is up to each one, to his measure, to collaborate! Come to us.

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