Young people taste farm life and pokébowl

Fifty first-year students from Ubbo Emmius College in Winschoten, Groningen, a number of teachers and a few parents cycle into the farm of field farmers Jeroen and Lianne van Rulo in Midwolda, Groningen. A varied program awaits young people this morning, focusing on healthy nutrition, exercise and sustainable food production.

Judith de Rijk, creator and organizer of Food Camp, welcomes the students and immediately asks them a question: ‘What kind of food is being made here on the farm?’ There is silence for a while, but soon the students mention ‘potatoes, onions and beets’.

Lianne van Rulo says that they do not grow potatoes, but they grow yellow and red onions and sugar beets. What else do they grow? Wheat, rapeseed, peas and pumpkin. ‘Food you eat every day’, says the farmer.

During a tour of the company, children can feel a wheat stalk and ears. “Fat,” a girl replies. ‘The kernels are still soft. They still have to grow for a while to harvest ‘, Van Rulo explains.

The rapeseed is almost finished flowering, here too the students feel the seeds in the pod. ‘You can also eat the flowers. Try it, ”invites the farmer. Most people do not like it, but teacher Gerard Jongkind says enthusiastically: ‘This is an experience, try it’, after which there is plenty to taste. This leads to reactions like ‘It tastes of cabbage’ to ‘I do not taste anything’.

Van Rulo talks about insects in the flower edge, which do work for the farmer. ‘We are happy with ladybugs, for example. They eat the aphids on the beets, so we do not need plant protection products.

In the barn, there is an explanation of the different machines used on a farm and how wheat is dried in the silos. Teacher Mirjam Romkes listens carefully. ‘I find everything Lianne says interesting. The students really see what is happening, from planting in the field to harvest. It’s great that kids get it at this age. Although they sometimes do not seem interested, they learn that the crops do not grow by Albert Heijn, but on the ground. ‘

In addition to the tour of the company, there are two other activities for the children. On the runway, people climb over straw bales to loud cheers, crawl through a tractor tire or obstacle and climb ropes.

Terra MBO takes care of the activity ‘cooking’ or making a pokébowl. This is a type of salad based on rice or pasta with fresh vegetables and fruits and fish, meat or eggs. The products are displayed on a long table for a poké bowl. From raspberries, strawberries and pears to rice and Vechtdal pasta and from salmon, cheese and eggs to beans, broccoli and lettuce. In a small food truck, fry the stew and chicken.

Sustainability games

Before students make their own poké bowl, they play a Wheel of Five sustainability game with Terra student Robin. “Everyone takes a product off the table and puts it in the middle of the table if it’s a sustainable product, and on the edge if it’s not that durable,” he explains.

It is not that easy for the students. Blueberries, for example, are they sustainable or not? ‘If you buy blueberries in the winter or in the spring, they come from abroad, which is not sustainable,’ Robin explains. ‘If you buy them in the summer or autumn, they can come from Holland, because they are grown here.’

Then it’s time to make your own sustainable, healthy meal. Everyone comes to work. The teachers also participate. Eating together is the last part of the Food Camp. The bowls with poké bowl are emptied well. ‘Maybe a pokébowl is also something to eat during the harvest’, suggests Lianne van Rulo. Her husband nods in agreement. “Then the bowl could be a little bigger for me.”

Food Challenge in Groningen

The food camp is part of the Food Challenge, an initiative of Judith de Rijk from LekkerBoer and SVO vocational education for food, now for the second year in collaboration with partners in secondary vocational education programs such as Terra in the province of Groningen. The food challenge consists of lessons for students in the first two classes of VMBO or practical instruction on healthy food, where their food comes from and exercise. Four hundred students from Ubbo Emmius College attended classes at school, fifty of them were allowed to go to Foodcamp. Fennie Munneke works at GGD Groningen and as a mediator for Young Learning Food teaches in school: ‘Both in school and on the farm, this course is about learning from experience, learning by doing. It will stay with you forever. ‘

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