Listening to their voices: sustainability through the eyes of youth - Food Wave

Listening to their voices: sustainability through the eyes of youth

27 July 2022


Since the beginning of the current school year, ACRA has been committed in bringing the Food Wave project to vocational training and technical high schools within the Municipality of Milan, through workshops that tackle the nexus food and climate.

Through a series of activities, students had the chance to discuss the project’s focus and discover more on the world of food. What do we mean by fair trade? Can our consumption habits be truly sustainable? What is a food supply chain and how does it influence our eating habits? Participants developed not only digital social communication competences (web radio, citizen journalism, social media management), but they also strengthened their social and civic competences and their life skills (self-awareness, problem solving, decision-making, creative and critical thinking, empathy).

The workshops proposed by ACRA consisted in two different training programs, each ranging from six to ten or more hours per class:

  • Web radio Food Wave: the classes that chose this option had the chance to create a web radio podcast discussing topics related to the food and climate nexus. The audio output has proven to be a powerful tool to amplify their voices and opinions, a safe space to share their favorite music and share extremely complex topics with their peers in an engaging and astonishing way.
  • Let’s design a sustainable city: through this option, students organized an event within the school context or in cooperation with other organizations, proving incredible skills and competences in event organizing and project management. The classes autonomously chose the topic for their event, the guests and the background environment, putting themselves to the test in engaging their peers and their teachers.

The podcasts realized by the classes were and are being published on ShareRadio, in ACRA’s radio channel, Radio ACRA. Join us in listening to the voices of youth at!

Among the creation of podcasts, some classes had the chance to discover more the world of sustainability, for example visiting a local example, Cascina Cuccagna, or interviewing people outside the supermarket to learn more on their eating and consumption habits, and what they know on food sustainability.

Exploring the world of sustainability: Food Wave at CAPAC – Politecnico del Commercio e del Turismo

Within the vocational school CAPAC – Politecnico del Commercio e del Turismo, ACRA implemented four training programs on the design of a sustainability event.

Tasting the fair trade

The class 4E, currently enrolled in vocational school for cooking and baking, organized an event focusing on fair trade cocoa and coffee, through different games and tasting opportunities dedicated to students and teachers. Two classes and several teachers took part in the event, kicked off by a presentation on the Food Wave project and followed by games to explore the world of sustainability and fair trade. Participants had the chance to “taste” the difference between chocolate coming from large-scale trade and fair trade: while the taste of chocolate might remain the same, food habits do not affect only our taste buds, but also the environment and human rights. The class is currently enrolled in a vocational school with a focus on dining room service and bar tendering; therefore, students had the possibility to practice their profession through the event, while engaging with their peers.

Organic sustainability

The class 4CD decided to put in practice their cooking skills organizing an awareness-raising and tasting event focused on the concept of organic food. Students from another classroom had the chance to participate in non-formal education activities, listen to a presentation on organic food and sustainability, and even listen to an unreleased rap single on sustainable food. At the end, the organizing class distributed pastries and sandwiches to all the participants; the recipes were created using only organic ingredients to show that sustainability can be as yummy as supermarket food!

Change direction

The class 4B organized a tasting event focusing on food that brings together the different culinary origins of the students: Italian, Moroccan, Chinese and Philippine. Participants from another class had the chance to taste different products, all vegan and with a particular attention to sustainability, such has the reuse of cooking water. Participants also received informational material, and a small gift with suggestions to combat food waste in their lives. Finally, students created a video to show the whole process and food preparation, which was shared with participants during the event.

Sustainability at the Opera San Francesco

The Opera San Francesco is a religious charity organization that offers several services to people in need, including a soup kitchen. Students have organized a cooking event in the kitchen of the Opera San Francesco, where they prepared a meal for 400 people: risotto with nettles. The meal has been chosen for its low environmental impact, being seasonal and with ingredients coming from short and verified supply chains. In addition, students have also organized an interview with a representative from the Opera San Francesco and created awareness-raising and informational materials to exhibit in the school’s entrance. On the opening day of the exhibition, participants were encouraged to try specific products to then be surprised by food labels and pictures from the supply chain.   

Peer-to-peer education at IIS Torricelli

Today we test you!

The class 2A LSA, from an applied sciences high school, decided to put teachers on the test on the topic of food and sustainability. More than 15 teachers, including the school principal, took part in the challenge and they had the chance to learn more about the food and climate nexus, answering to a quiz prepared by the students. In addition, students pointed out which form of education they would like to see in schools, which methodologies they like, and how teachers should discuss about sustainability in a participatory and engaging way.

The board game of sustainability

The class 4A LSA, from an applied sciences high school, organized an incredible “in real life” board game, where different teams from different classes had the chance to find out more about food, sustainability and climate change. The board game included quizzes and challenges, as well as four thematic islands with subsequent thematic challenges: atomic gardening (on the use of atomic energy in agriculture to fight the consequences of climate change); the island of plastic (on the real island of plastic in the Pacific Ocean); the pyramid of sustainability (where participants discovered which foods have more impact on the climate); recycling station (on the art of recycling and its effects).

Taking away your trashcan

Last but not least, the class 2C LSAM (applied sciences high school) secretly took away trashcans from an entire floor of their school, observing the behavior of people and raising awareness on the impacts of trash and waste, as well as proper recycling. The social experiment highlighted several flaws in the waste management of the institution, and students were not only able to identify them, but also propose adequate solutions.