NATURAL FOOD – FOOD FROM NATURE
Region Nordjylland, Denmark, working with Smag på Nationalpark Thy (Taste Thy National Park) (food network), Thy National Park and voluntary guides in Thy National Park
WHO WAS MEANT TO DO IT?
The general public: the events were suitable for adults and children.
WHAT DID THEY DO?
Arranged 10 cooking events in and around Thy National Park. Each event involved:
- Information on the food and ingredients which were part of each event
- Trip in the countryside to collect or see the places where the food grows
- Preparation of meals with the collected raw material.
- Information on the cultural heritage around the plants etc. – how they were used previously
- Guidance and recipes which makes it easy to use nature’s products at home.
- Some events were to be recorded on video and made into a video manual or tutorial.
The purpose of the events was to inspire the active use of nature and to equip the participants to use nature’s pantry. The events also conveyed the cultural heritage which is linked to the food and dietary habits in the region.
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
The events were advertised at www.360.dkand in the calendar of the National Park.
Participants helped to make the food and collect the berries, herbs, mushrooms, etc, and were also given information about the cultural heritage of the food. The food was prepared outdoors (where possible) using primitive shelter areas.
The recipes were old, but adjusted to contemporary tastes with the emphasis on local ingredients which could be gathered in the wild or experienced in nature, for example, grazing livestock, or beehives for honey.
The participants were guided around the area and helped the in various activities by professionals (for example, from the local museum). The activities were followed by stories of the area and cultural heritage of the food. All activities were suitable for both adults and children.
The participants were given a sheet with the recipes, ”getting started” advice and a brief description of the cultural heritage which belonged to the activity.
Some of the events were recorded on video with the view to making a video for tutorial/guidance, which was to be used to disseminate the important learning aspects to a wider target group besides the participants in the events. This would help prolong the experience and the learning among the participants. The videos would be subtitled in English so an even greater number of people can gain an insight into how nature in North Jutland can be used as food.
HOW MANY PARTICIPATED?
At October 2011, 70 people had participated, less than the anticipated 150. Attendance numbers were:
- 14/7: “Blueberries”, 12 people
- 24/8: “Know your fish”, 14 people
- 27/8: “Eat all of the crab”, 12 people
- 29/8: “Bees and honey”, 0 people, probably due to bad weather
- 1/9: “Mushrooms”, 16 people
- 12/9: “Snaps with herbs”, 3 Germans, cancelled due to too few people and language problems
- 20/9: “Eat game”, 5 people
- 30/9: “Sea buckthorn as preserve and juice”, 11 people
- 16/11: “Herring is good”. Yet to take place.
DID IT WORK?
Yes, it was carried out to the specifications, although 2 events had to be cancelled (see above). Each event focused on the cultural and natural heritage of the area. The participants were told about how the produce from nature has been used over the years and they sampled old recipes with the ingredients which they have collected themselves.
WAS IT SUCCESSFUL?
The people who participated were very positive about the experience.
It was found that if people feel more confident using nature’s products, they are more likely to go for walks and collect the ingredients. Cooking a meal over a bonfire was beyond some peoples’ limits but they enjoyed it a lot when they tasted the food.
The following recommendations were made:
- Signing up to the event 1 day before is sufficient.
- It is necessary to make it clear that the events are in Danish only.
- It is easiest if the food is cooked at a primitive shelter place where there are tables, benches and running water.
Next time, additional advertising will be considered in different places.