Most Innovative Social Engagement Process
Social Engagement Process
Type of initiative
Our vision is to inspire preschool kids to eat healthier, to waste less and to develop a deep appreciation for their food.
RESTLOS GLÜCKLICH is a non-profit organization based in Berlin, Germany which campaigns for more appreciation of the value of food and for sustainable food consumption for everyone. The organisation educates people about climate-friendly nutrition through educational projects, interactive cooking classes, community events and personalised workshops too.
At the EdiCitNet Awards 2021, RESTLOS GLÜCKLICH was awarded the prize for Most Innovative Social Engagement Process for their work with children and their teachers, in socially disadvantaged inner-city areas of Berlin.
EdiCitNet talked to Theresa Keller from RESTLOS GLÜCKLICH about how this particular project came about.
Congratulations RESTLOS GLÜCKLICH on winning this EdiCitNet Award. Can you tell us a little bit about your initiative? What do you do, how did it get started and why?
Actually the programme all stems from a vision that one of our team members, Edith, had. The whole program is motivated by the fact that in Germany, per year, we waste 18 million tons of food, half of which is completely edible at the time its thrown away. That’s unacceptable from an ethical, logical and economic point of view. At the same time, we know that the way we consume food and our whole relationship to food and nutrition basically develops in the early stages of childhood. Children are wired in their younger years when it comes to how they will live and how they will eat.
The program basically brings both of those two pillars together. Our vision is to inspire preschool kids to eat healthier, to waste less and to develop a deep appreciation for their food.
It’s so important for us to restore our fundamental human-food connection. And it sounds like that’s exactly what your project is doing. Can you tell us a little bit about the scope of your project? I know you work with lots of schools in Berlin. Are you planning to take that further?
The whole project started in October, 2020. So that’s where we basically launched everything. And since then 35 preschool school groups have gone through the programme, which means that so far we reached 350 preschool kids, which is really amazing. Right now we’re focused on inner city areas of Berlin, but our dream is actually to expand throughout Berlin and then also throughout Germany.
That sounds exciting. Do you have the resources needed for that? Are you a self-sustaining organisation or do you have external funding?
We are funded by the Berlin government, so the project is dependent on us receiving further funds. But this is a wish of ours and also something that we’re working on. We have the team in place. The only thing we need is the funds to move forward.
How open are the schools to cooperate with your project? They usually have limited resources to take in projects that are not included in the daily class goals. How do you convince them to cooperate?
In general they are quite open. The programme is first of all for free, of course, for the kindergartens, which is obviously quite an important fact and it’s quite flexible too – it can be done in as little as seven weeks and as many as ten weeks. And actually, we empower the preschool teachers to carry out the programs themselves. We supply them with everything they need and then we come to them and offer them support with workshops.
The program is designed with them in mind and it empowers them to make a difference. So that makes them very open to working with us.
If you have a dream, if you have a wish, a vision, then believe in it and go for it! Have a plan, take it step by step, try different things out, and just go for it.
Great. That really does seem like the way to go for so many urban food initiatives – just taking action and learning as you go along. Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to leave us with?
Yes, something that we found very important when developing the project and all of the different materials was: ask the target group. We literally gave drafts to children and asked them for their feedback. Children really know what they need and they will give you great feedback! And the program is for them of course, so its essential that we listen to what they have to say – and the preschool teachers too, of course. Right now we are actually adapting our material based on what we learned in the first phase. It’s been really beautiful and inspiring to talk to the target group of the project and listen to their feedback. Nobody will give you more honest feedback than children will!
That’s a great point to end on, thank you! We wish you the best of luck for your project and your plans to expand to other cities and regions. We hope that by receiving the EdiCitNet Award, we will be able to raise even moreawareness for the project and the incredible work you are doing.
Download the EdiCitNet factsheet on RESTLOS GLÜCKLICH for more information, photos and contact details.
Check out the other EdiCitNet Awards winners for 2021
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