Sustainable Food Futures: Our Project With Exeter University

If you’ve been to a Kids Kitchen session, you’ll know that we love vegetables almost as much as we love getting people together. We create spaces where people can share positive, collaborative experiences around food. Why? Because we want to do our bit to support families and the planet we all share. Still, why is this helpful for the world? Linking what we do to a grander research base can be tough, around excitable toddlers and busy lives! That’s why we’ve been so excited this month to share some time with students and lecturers from the University of Exeter on a project to help us do just that. The team came together with Kids Kitchen staff and families to help us learn and talk about how our work contributes to a sustainable food future. This then led to the students creating a range of interactive, educational resources we can use with Kids Kitchen families, including a fab kids book and some key facts for us all to learn from. So, how did it go? Let’s hear from the folks who took part!

Talking about what we do

I found this project to be really interesting and inspiring! One of the things I feel

more strongly about as a result of this project is the need to provide information in a

concise way without it seeming overwhelming. The current state of the global food industry and the effects that has on the environment IS overwhelming and I think it’s too easy to bury your head in the sand and think it’s TOO big a problem to tackle. I really want Kids Kitchen to be able to show people that making even just one or two small changes to the way they approach their diet CAN make a difference, to them, their families and the future; and it is important that we offer solutions that are truly accessible to all. – Kate, Hub Coordinator, Kids Kitchen

Smashing creative challenges

I was one of the students from the University of Exeter working in partnership with Kids Kitchen with support from UoE incubator fund. Through discussions with the Kids Kitchen staff and families we learnt about their core values. This led to some interesting discussions about the research that surrounds food sustainability. As students we then held a number of other meetings to brainstorm ideas about the resources we could produce to meet the brief; a key resource document for adults and a resource for families and children. We decided on a story book and a key facts resource. I worked in the story book group and had a lot of fun illustrating. This is completely different to anything I have done before; I haven’t ‘done’ art since year 9 and I study a very science focused degree. This opportunity to be creative was both challenging and exciting. It was really great receiving feedback from the team throughout the journey and the shared enthusiasm we all had for the book was a brilliant motivator. I had a lot of fun working with Kids Kitchen and the shared passion we all had for sustainable food and exploring the complexities of it meant I learnt a lot. – Daisy Campen, University of Exeter

Making sustainable changes

My 4 year old daughter and I started cooking online with Kids Kitchen during covid-lockdown when I stumbled across a link online. When I signed up to this project, I started with some basic ideas in my mind – mainly about eating more locally sourced and organically grown food. In practice this was hard for me as a single parent, working full time and not having to access to much non-supermarket shopping. The project increased my awareness about how to expand on a plant based diet. Plus, the enthusiasm of those involved got me very keen to know more about how our food habits could become more sustainable and healthy. Overall I found the whole project thought provoking and giving me new tools and confidence to think about small changes that can be made to better our diet responsibly, for ourselves and the wider community. Thank you and well done all! – Suwani Gunawardena, Kids Kitchen attendee

Watch this space for some new resources – we are so excited to share them with you! If you’d like to learn more about sustainable food, you can take a look at the Future Food course put together by some of the experts from Exeter University!

Art by Daisy Campen