Sensory Learning, Belarus
Launched by Slow Food Belarus Convivium in 2008, this project provides a hands-on course for secondary school students that builds knowledge of the region's local food culture, improves the daily diet of families in the region and empowers young people to play a role in the future direction of the local food system.
The project was launched in the villages of Berioza and Kobrin in the traditionally agricultural region of Brest, which still provides one third of the national meat and milk production. However, the region is also home to a growing industrial sector and is home to several hundred factories including some of the largest In Belarus. As fields are abandoned for factories, the local food and wine traditions and artisanal production are being replaced by a diet reliant on standardized processed foods. The region is also recovering from the devastation of Chernobyl, which hit Belarus harder than any other USSR state. More than 70% of the radiation fallout hit this region, causing severe damage to environmental and human health and the local economy and culture, in particular agriculture. Slow Food Berioza Convivium designed this school progam to inspire enthusiasm amongst young people for good, clean and fair local food production and to promote healthier and more sustainable food choices.
The project was launched at the Berioza Secondary School N°3, the village's predominant school with 1,400 pupils. Each year around 120 students. aged 9-15, study the origins, processing methods and sensory qualities of local food, and investigate the social, economic and cultural role of small producers in Belarus. In 2010, three additional schools in Brest region joined the initiative, together involving more than 400 pupils.
- expanding the project at Berioza Secondary School N°3 with the creation of a school garden and increasing the number of participating students;
- introducing the project to more schools in the Brest region;
- organizing opportunities for participating teachers to share their progress and to pass on their experience to teachers from schools across Belarus;
- organizing visits to small-scale farmers and producers; increasing the cooking courses, theory classes and tasting sessions; creating a network of schools (in the district of Brest, in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia) which can offer their student food education courses;
- producing and distributing communication and promotional materials;
Berioza and Kobrin, Brest region, Belarus
600 pupils of the Berioza Secondary School N°3 and some schools in Kobrin. The families of the students (about 1,800 - 2,000 people)
Total estimated costs 2012-2013