The COVCHEG project proudly presents its education activities in Azerbaijan

The proposed comprehensive education kit developed in the framework of the EU-financed COVCHEG (Community-based Value Chain Enhancement in the Greater Caucasus Mountains Area) project for primary and secondary school children aims to promote healthy, responsible and sustainable nutrition, exploring the origins and methods of food production, its sensory characteristics, as well as its social and economic significance. It includes two materials:

The Sensory Education and Responsible Consumption course Tasty Lessons, a series of 25 lessons designed to improve students’ daily food choices and stimulate local consumption through sensory learning and hands-on experience. During the course students use all six senses, explore the origins and production methods of local and natural products, their sensory and qualitative characteristics, learn about nutrition, meet with farmers and take part in cooking classes. This will help students make better food choices and become more aware of the important role each of them play in building the future for themselves and their region.

The Ark of Taste goes to school aims to help students discover local food products and take concrete action to protect biodiversity. This will be done through identifying local products to save aboard the Ark of Taste, the international Slow Food catalogue of products at risk of extinction. Children are presented with a story set in the Ark Valley, a place where all things are different one from another but risk disappearing on account of the Great Grayness that is taking over the Valley. The narrator of the story, Mother Snail, accompanies two children, on their way to save the Valley. Along their journey they discover the elements that allow for diversity: environment, culture and taste. Using their curiosity, they manage to save the Valley. Four teaching activities follow the narrative to explore the notions of biodiversity, environment, culture and taste with the students.

Educators and teachers are invited to participate in four trainings sessions/forums where the kit will be presented, addressing its main themes.

Interaction between the cultural and gastronomic sectors is functional to the protection and valorization of Azerbaijani food heritage. It is of unique strategic importance to involve schools so that, under the mindful guidance of their teachers, students can learn a method for interpreting their own local area, a unique capacity to observe and experience the communities in which they live as well as consciously engage in daily food choices. These are the only solutions to the problems of the erosion of agricultural biodiversity and unsustainable food systems.

With the financial support from the European Union and in partnership with the Azerbaijan Tourism Board, Slow Food is implementing the project COVCHEG to support small farmers and producers in the mountainous regions of the Greater Caucasus. The EU-Azerbaijan Partnership, which works in close collaboration with local authorities, civil society groups and other stakeholders, promotes local identity and gastronomy, and preserves the region’s biodiversity and cultural heritage.

The “Ark of Taste Goes to School” education material has been developed as part of the activities of the pro-ject “Food is culture”, co-financed by the European program Creative Europe. The material has been adapted and translated in Azerbaijani language thanks to the COVCHEG project.