A curious taste for cultivated diversity amongst adolescents in the Swedish Arctic
The aim of this project is to contribute to sustainable eating among adolescents in the Swedish Arctic by co-created sensory activities that stimulate the exploration and expression of sensory experiences.
The project is a collaboration between the Arctic Center at Umeå University and the Department of Food, Nutrition and Culinary Science.
Climate change and biodiversity loss are major threats to our current food system, and there is an urgent need to start producing food in a more resilient way that contributes to environmental sustainability. One aspect of this is to provide a larger diversity of different crops, which implies that we as eaters will have to become familiar with foods and flavors we haven’t tried before. It then becomes important to explore and appreciate food with sensory attributes that might be unfamiliar to us. In this project, we will work with food from the Swedish Arctic that contributes to biodiversity and resilience in the local food system. Because adolescence is an important stage in life where future dietary habits are formed, this project will address young at the age 13-15 years old. Amongst younger children, previous research has shown that creative engagement with food that stimulates the senses can contribute to enhanced curiosity for new food. We are curious to know whether this is applicable for adolescents as well and how such an activity can be co-created with adolescents!
To become aware about one´s own sensory experiences and be able to express them can enable agency in a meal situation, which is important for every individual to make grounded decisions. Furthermore, to encourage curiosity for previously unknown, or disliked, foods from the Swedish Arctic amongst adolescents constitutes part of the local adaptation to the impacts on the food system caused by climate change. In the long run, this can contribute to a food system where production and consumption can operate in harmony with ecological systems and contribute to promote biodiversity, both on land and in water, while simultaneously securing future food supply.