Getting young people into the kitchen…experiences from Berlin
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I proudly present today’s news: young people are becoming fat and stupid because of bad food.
That’s, in fact, what is communicated by the media – probably not only in Germany. Some people say, bad nutrition is a consequence of a lack of education. Of course, only stupid people eat unhealthy food, right? Ehm, not really.
For me as a young German it is sometimes unbelievable seeing people whose nutrition is based on industrial dictates. They believe, what paper says and we all know that paper can be really patient.
Eat 0,00000001 % fat cheese/yoghurt/any kind of food you can think of, to become smart/sexy/slim/any kind of adjective you’d wish to describe yourself. And for that reason, people buy artificial vitamines, 0% sugar cookies with a double portion aspartame and torture themselves with low carbohydrate diets. For masochists it must be a fantastic life. For people who’d like to enjoy, it’s not.
A flock of human lambs guided by a medial sheep dog and following the industrial sheepherder – a good reason for me to fight back. I don’t wanna be part of this society who forgot to think themselves. I don’t wanna be part of the society lamenting about miserable social structures and not moving a finger to change it.
Result: I founded my NGO Kulina.
In Berlin, where I live, there is a huge network of committed people and a million of organisations helping people in every possible situation. BUT: Nutrition was kind of missing! Before starting my NGO, I’ve worked for three years as a German teacher for people with migrational background. It was fun as I got to know not only the children, but also their families. But after a while the market was full of offers to teach underpriviliged people in German ’cause language teaching became “in”.
Okay, I said to myself: Time for something that is really, really important and needed. I wanted to do “something” with nutrition and young people. But the only thing, that I could find, were these one-time events where children could spend three hours with a professional chef while cooking a three-course menu for EUR 120 – equality of opportunities sounds differently.
I was searching for a young-spirit initiative aiming to change the way people think about food and the culture of eating. Kulina has become this initiative – after a long run of bureaucracy.
It’s a real challenge if you are willing to support underpriviliged people finding their own way of good eating and in the same time be slept in your face.
In the beginning, my efforts were totally ignored. Cooking courses for free? That cannot be serious! Voluntary students spending their free time to teach younger people in food issues? Trying to reconnect them with nature?
I started in a kindergarden cooking every week with a bunch of five-year-old children. It was fun and exhausting. And after a period of PR activities, more students joined Kulina. Incredible, how many students have a passion for food as I do. In some of our courses, the leader is only five years older than the course participants and it works!
Well, working with children or teenagers who live in districts with bad social structures requires quite a bit of authority. You set the frame for the working atmosphere. It is a mixture of a relaxed get-together with people in almost the same age and in the same time a disciplined “YOU CLEAN UP NOW!”-atmosphere to get everybody away from their iPods.
And it’s worth doing all this. Our network grows and grows. Educational institutions, foundations, restaurants, farms, we’ve been creating a network of stakeholders in the complex system of food. It’s great and I invite you to join our Kulina movement!
For more information, send me a message!
TAGS: Florence, Kulina, NGO