> project | Design for food and nutrition

Design workshops for the creation of tools for food education
Project by Valentina Downey

Today, the education of children is still largely the prerogative of women. In this country, the percentage of women who are obliged to and who sometimes choose to devote themselves entirely to bringing up their children is very high. This situation is even more pronounced in the various foreign communities present in Italy. Even in educational institutions the percentage of women teachers is remarkably high.

Design for food and nutrition is a project which aims to create a workshop where women, including teachers, experts and mothers, can work together under the guidance of designers. The objective is to create new tools for the development of food education.

What are these tools? During the design workshop, the focus will be on conceiving ideas for products of communal use, foodstuffs, services for schools and families, menu suggestions, new commercial services and educational processes.

Why a workshop with designers? The starting point is 10 years of experience with the IntensiveDesignLabs workshops held in both Italian and foreign companies, which have been coordinated and designed since 2001 by Patrizia Scarzella and Valentina Downey. The designers are able to listen to and understand people’s needs, either stated or implied, and translate them into technically and economically feasible designs which will then be transformed into objects, processes or services. As in all design processes, the workshop will focus on a specific research theme established at the beginning, accompanied by existing studies deriving from indications and suggestions gathered from people (teachers, mothers, families) who are involved in the nutritional care and education of children on a daily basis and who will participate in the workshop itself. It is a method which aims to respond to unexpressed needs and unresolved issues thanks to observations in the field and by listening to the experiences of these people first hand.

Why a project on food education? Excessive eating and bad eating habits are significant factors in the incidence of pathologies such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain types of tumour. Similarly, but for the opposite reason, the scarcity of food that afflicts developing countries causes, above all in children, death, tendencies to suffer from delayed or limited growth and cognitive development, as well as a proneness to infectious diseases (from the study “Crescita sana e nutrizione dei bambini” {Healthy growth and nutrition of children} carried out by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition). “Design for food and nutrition” is a project that consults with women and uses research in order to rediscover the roots of a food culture, a culture of territory and its balanced exploitation, investigating the best ways, services and products with which to educate and bring up children on a day-to-day basis.

Who is it aimed at? At companies which carry out research in the field of nutritional education, which make products aimed at children, schools, organisations and institutions which play a significant role in the education of future generations.

In collaboration with DMC Design Management Center (referent: Carlo Branzaglia)
Project Leader: Valentina Downey and Carlo Branzaglia

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