North Brabant, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2018, has dedicated the fourth month of its We Are Food programme to highlighting the importance of nutritious lifestyle choices for its young citizens. As stated in on the Region’s dedicated website, the programme looks to bring healthy eating closer to the experience of youth.
A key theme of the programme is the idea that young people are citizens of the future. By educating the younger generations today, North Brabant Region intends to actively create future ambassadors for healthy eating and sustainable living. On 1 June 2018 the themed month began in Oss Municipality’s The Healthy School at the Hooghuis, specifically with the launch of the Wereldburger initiative (video).
North Brabant’s Healthy School programme seeks to stimulate and promote school activities that positively influence the lifestyle, and hence by extension, the academic performance of students; increased exercise, no smoking and better nutrition are highlighted as key factors. The Hooghuis is a school group in Oss city, wherein the canteens are arranged as a learning space and students have the opportunity to prepare healthy meals for the faculty and their own peers.
Wereldburger is a combination of world and burger, but also means world citizen in Dutch. The project has challenged pupils aged 12-18 in the region to design and prepare a healthy, sustainably sourced, and creative burger recipe. Students were assisted by a specially designed user-friendly phone app, which enabled them to research healthy ingredients, calculate nutritional values, understand how produce is grown and plan their own different burger combinations.
This process resulted in a list of 866 entries, from which fifteen finalists were selected. Most of the nominations were vegetarian, revealing that the Region’s youth are already very aware of some of the issues regarding food chain sustainability at present. The top three entries will be presented on 16 June 2018 during the OSS SCOORT GLOBAL GOALS event, where a jury will select the winner. The winning Wereldburger will be promoted and served in selected restaurants around the North Brabant Region.
After witnessing the engagement and excitement from students regarding the project, organisers have expressed a wish to extend the competition nationally and even internationally to continue the effort to highlight the importance of healthy eating among young people. Healthy School Coordinator Marietta Marnetta van Raak emphasised the significance of the project;
It lives with the children. Everyone is busy with culture, health and sustainability nowadays. We have the future here, we want to give something. We are already reaping the fruits of the attention for healthy food at primary school. The time is ripe to make children more aware, in an inspiring playful way.
IGCAT is a non-profit organisation working in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. Through its worldwide network of experts, IGCAT aims to empower local communities by guiding, facilitating and supporting local leaders in regions to understand the potential of their distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. IGCAT provides the Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the European Region of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award, the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Food Experiences of the Year and the Food Film Festival project.
About the European Region of Gastronomy
The European Region of Gastronomy Platform aims to contribute to better quality of life in European regions, by highlighting distinctive food cultures, educating for better health and sustainability and stimulating gastronomic innovation. Candidate regions are invited to join a knowledge-exchange platform of European regions in order to further cross-border collaborations and develop shared initiatives.