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Reduce your Ecological Food Print! – A Youth Exchange to Raise Awareness about Healthy Food
Start date: Jan 1, 2016, End date: Nov 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project has been thought up and designed by a group of NGOs in Alta, Norway, in May 2015 thanks to the effort of NaturKultur e.V. and Leppe¬Ganespalte Foreningen in Langfjord. The Youth Exchange deals with negative developments in the globalized chain of food producers, food processing enterprises and the final consumers. The exchange aims to to raise awareness among youth to improve their consciousness for good food, its origins and a responsible ecological behavior of all of us, that will lead to a healthier lifestyle.Nowadays the largest share of world’s population participates in a global cycle of production, trade, processing and consumption of food. This food is not any more consumed, where it has been produced nor does it reach the end consumer in a raw form. In our global world imported food replaces local food, convenience food and eating out replaces home-cooked food, fast food replaces slow food. Even worse, large quantities of food produced actually never reaches the consumer. Due to distorted consumer demands - especially in our Western World - it is sorted out and thrown away. Food decays during transport and storage or it is taken out of stores due to overregulated shelf-life prescriptions. Interests of international food conglomerates to sell cheaper products with higher profits lead to the gradual degradation of food. The growth of food is industrialized in plantations, older more healty races are replaced by genetically modified sorts. Cattle is subjected to inhumane treatment. Monocultures become a danger for nature’s sustainability. Food items are redesigned. Its contents are replaced by cheaper products. Articifical spices, colours, salt, etc. are used to create taste and looks where there are none. Sugar is added to spur hunger for more. Chemicals are added to prolong shelf-life. But there is also a growing awareness that such developments lead to higher obesity, increased allergies, destroys nature and deprives local and smaller farmers of good profits. Movements springing up everywhere in the world attempt to stop that development and to increase consumer awareness. They do not stop short there, but actively change their own and others behaviors. There is a movement for fair production prices for third world farmers. There are hundreds of thousands of farmers switching to ecological farming, permaculture, biodynamic farming. There are urban gardeners growing food in their cities. There are the adherents of aquaponics, growing vegetables and raising fish in leftover industrial plantations or even on rooftops. There are those reshaping distribution channels by marketing homegrown food directly into households or from ecological farms into farmers’ markets in the cities. There are also those, who are recycling allegedly ‘bad’ food sorted out before passing the farm gate or in the wholesale markets. There are even people diving into the dumpsters of supermarkets. There are those who are attempting to provide cheaper and better food through the evasion of packaging, the exchange of industrial food sorts against traditional, more healthy and more valuable ones. We design this Youth Exchange to introduce a large group of participants to the situation, its outlooks and possibilities to act themselves. They will learn from each other about developments in their countries. They will study the importance of transport, storage, sorting, packaging and positioning to influence their consumer behaviours. The will be visiting farmers, wholesale markets, supermarkets to inquire and discover themselves the mechanism of price and production. They will train themselves to read, study, understand and analyze the prescriptions of food. They will attempt to design an own youth-friendly diet by buying, tasting and by cooking food together. We will experience in person the difference between industrial farming and ecological farming. They will be helped by activists, researchers and inspection services. We want this Youth Exchange to be one of several, through which youth workers can learn from youth, how it is possible to mobilize and train young people of their age to become more aware and receptive to a more pleasing food diet, that instantly reduces the ecological ‘food’ print of generations to come. To award the effort of teh participants and to achieve an intimate link between this and future youth exchanges we will introduce the certicificate of "food activists".

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