People working in the project are pleased about food education now being taken more seriously in several municipalities, and decision-makers have also attended joint meetings. The researchers hope that the model developed in the project would spread more widely and become part of municipal practices and service contracts.
“We offer municipalities several tools for this. Not everything needs to be taken into use, but each municipality can adopt solutions that are suitable for its situation,” Kähkönen says.
The project provides models for describing the objectives of good nutrition, good meals and good food education, as well as the forms of collaboration used in the municipality.
“The most obvious need in municipalities has been for our tool to assess meals and food education, which we’ve developed together with the Tasty School project. It is used to assess the current state of food education and meals in different municipal units.”
According to Kähkönen, the tool has revealed major differences between municipalities, and municipalities that have invested in food education clearly stand out.
“Of course, this is an asset for the municipality: it is easy to say that we support the well-being of our residents since early childhood.”
The project is also strongly collaboration-oriented when moving things forward. If, for example, a municipality has previous data on how many children skip school meals or how many children are overweight, the project will not stay fixed on these figures, but works together with the municipality to find concrete ways to address the issues.
“For instance, if a significant proportion of children in a municipality are overweight, we will work together to identify the underlying reasons, and how to move forward. We help to create indicators for food education, and support municipalities in their preparation of welfare reports and related entries,” Kähkönen says.