School children’s perspectives on food literacy as competencies – insights from a qualitative pilot study

Nanna Wurr Stjernqvist, Cecilie Karen Ljungmann, Ane Høstgaard Bonde, Jette Benn


School children’s perspectives on food literacy as competencies – insights from a qualitative study
Food literacy (FL) has developed as a relatively new theoretical concept, which according to Benn (2014) captures not only knowledge about healthy food (to know) and cooking skills (to do), but also the sensing of food (to sense), care of others (to care) as well as citizenship involvement in food issues (to want). Empirical studies of the concept are, however, few. The aim was to test the applicability of the 5 theoretical competencies of food literacy in school children aged 12-14 years.
The operationalisation of the theory into a practical context occurred in three steps using a qualitative approach; 1) Concretizing the domains of the model by defining sub elements to each domain and questions to each sub element. 2) Reviewing questions by a panel of 10 experts in food and education, and subsequently adjusting and reducing according to comments. 3) Conducting participatory observations on a food camp and 4 focus group interviews with a total of 21 school children.
In practice the competencies are often complementing each other as described by the theory. In relation to the competence ‘to know’, the children argued how they achieved more knowledge through hands-on activities. An important element of the competence ‘to do’ was getting support from adults when trying new techniques. ‘To sense’ was illuminated in the children’s talks about learning to seasoning. ‘To care’ was apparent in the children’s appreciation of making food together and the development of cooperation skills while ‘to want’ was observed in making of leftovers into “new” dishes and talks on subjects such as food production.
The 5 competencies can be found in everyday practices and are often complementing each other in a learning process. This highlights the need to build on a broad concept of food literacy that addresses more than one competence hence creating broader understandings and practical skills.

Key messages 1
This study has tested the applicability of a theoretical concept, food literacy, and has found it useful in practice to highlight specific competencies and their interconnectedness.

Key messages 2
The insights into practical examples of the interconnected competencies can be used to guide future interventions that aims to promote food literacy
Publikationsdatonov. 2019
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2019
BegivenhedEuropean Public Health Conference - Marseille, Frankrig
Varighed: 20 nov. 201923 nov. 2019


KonferenceEuropean Public Health Conference