The University of Malaga leads a project for responsible food education


Diario Sur, both in its paper edition and in the digital edition for Andalusia, has published an extensive article echoing the Fair Food project, where they highlight how in addition to the research and teaching work, different ideas and a more international focus are born from the hand of the teachers, being 'Fair Food for a Smart Life' an initiative that is an example of this. The purpose of this project, led by the professor of Business Organization, Ana María Castillo Clavero, is to recover, teach and promote the ancient culinary techniques and the consumption of seasonal foods.
The article points out the openness and availability of the results of the project to the entire population, because although it is aimed especially at young people its usefulness and benefits are general. FairFood is an Erasmus + project framed in the Strategic Actions, co-funded by the European Commission. Although the word 'Erasmus+' evokes mobility, here we are before another type of action, a work for professional training, with the aim of developing a set of intellectual products that promote traditional food, emphasizing and enhancing the European Gastronomic Cultural Heritage. "Europe has a culinary and gastronomic tradition that is being lost, with its own products, recipes and ways of preparation. But being so easy to go to the supermarket for buying an industrial prepared meal, people give up these traditions and this is a loss of knowledge and cultural values”, says Ana María.
The Mediterranean diet is a reference in this initiative with European projection. Partners include agri-food experts, educators, organisations and universities from Spain, Belgium, Portugal, and Italy. They also have the support of associations such as Sabor a Málaga, the Hospitality Schools of Malaga and many others at an international level.
From February 2022, the courses and repositories of information on traditional food can be consulted through its open web platform. To access the platform no registration is required, and access is completely anonymous, because only the IP address is counted for computing the number of users, since the purpose of the project is to reach the greatest visibility and the largest possible impact.
In order to raise awareness among younger groups, the initiative will have 50 microtraining courses, developed with small work sheets and activities that are complemented by multimedia material, divided into a basic and an advanced level. The first is intended for young students of schools and high schools. It is a package that shows the benefits of these consumption habits and discovers the products, recipes, techniques and methods of conservation, emphasizing the local product consumed in its fair season. "At this stage parents stop putting food in front of you and you start to choose, to create your consumption habits, so it is a key moment", clarifies the project leader. On the other hand, the most advanced level is intended for students of VET in catering, hospitality and tourism, nutrition and dietetics, as well as those same studies at the University. This level is also aimed at teachers and educators who wish to be trained to pass on this knowledge to their students themselves.
Awareness of responsible eating not only focuses on health benefits but also takes into account the economic, social and environmental impact. "The importance of consuming the products in their season and in the territory to which they belong comes, not only from the fact that evolutionarily we are better prepared to digest those from our own areas before those of other latitudes or countries, but especially from the enormous environmental impact that it entails. Imagine what it means that to eat an avocado or sweet potato out of season you had to bring it from 10,000 kilometers away. We are helping to perpetuate a mode of production that is quite exploitative of nature and the poorest communities", warns Ana.
The intellectual products of the project are initially offered in English and are subsequently translated into each of the languages of the participating countries. This also implies a task of adaptation, which makes the use this knowledge easy in other places, with its own products and recipes: "If here we are putting in value the Malaga goat, when translating it into Portuguese or Italian they have to find there indigenous products that fulfill a similar role, so that the user can access and consume it". It is a way of perpetuating the value of the local, of creating agricultural and livestock jobs, of fixing population to the territory by protecting the rural business heritage and knowledge.
The work began in early November and the planned activities are currently under way. Once the elaboration work was finished, the dissemination will be carried out both online and face-to-face, if sanitary conditions allow, something very desirable for a project which combines perfectly with meals, cocktails, tastings and other gastronomic events. To amplify the dissemination of the project, they aspire to count the participation of influencers and references in the world of cooking, such as great chefs, nutritionists, and food critics, as well as athletes, tourism professionals, educators, etc.