School food global hub

FAO and UNICEF host a masterclass on revolutionizing food education

Held in the framework of the World Food Forum, it aimed at encouraging youth to be part of the change


On 4th October, more than 250 people from across the world virtually joined the FAO and UNICEF-led masterclass "Revolutionizing food education in youth for more sustainable food pathways". The event aimed at popularizing in an accessible and engaging way the vision and core principles of a transformative approach to school-based food and nutrition education (SFNE), which promotes healthy and sustainable food practices and outlooks by fostering food competent, reactive and proactive schoolchildren and families.

The event opened with a UNICEF video in which numerous children from around the world have their say on their food and food systems. Experts from FAO and UNICEF then illustrated the new vision of food education and its core principles, and how it can transform school systems. This vision for school-based food and nutrition education is of a holistic kind, one that helps schoolchildren and the school community to make lasting improvements to their everyday food practices, advocate for change and support others to do so. Moving beyond the traditional approach of solely transmitting basic and generic information about nutrition in the classroom, this approach also envisions hands-on activities where students can directly engage with food, together with actions on the whole school food environment to ensure that it is coherent with what is taught and encourages healthy food practices.

The following section focused on how some of these principles have been put into practice across the world. Real-life, inspirational initiatives led by children and adolescents, school staff, and youth and institutional representatives in the Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Barbados and Ghana were showcased so that the audience could be inspired and possibly replicate the experiences or promote their own in their schools and communities, thus contributing to positively shape their local food systems.

The masterclass also sought to gather inputs from its young audience, so interaction through various channels such as social media and an online shared whiteboard were encouraged during the event; participants’ thoughts, ideas and commitments were posted live during the session (see some examples below). Moreover, in the final session participants were invited to vote for their preferred Actions 4 Change as a way to make their voice heard: the most voted actions will be used to encourage global decisionmakers to implement policies that create a healthy, just and sustainable food system.

The event took place in the framework of the World Food Forum, the youth-led movement and network to transform food systems to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The masterclass ultimately aimed at inspiring youth, school staff and other stakeholders to be active agents of change in their own contexts, “walking out” full of ideas and excitement on how to play anactive role in shaping their practices and school food environments in a healthier and more sustainable way.