16 March 2018 - Creating Young Leaders in Sustainable Development Conference from 9.30 - 4pm at City Hall, Leicester LE1 1FZ
11 April 2018 - Marking over 30 years of Friendship, Solidarity and Learning between Leicester and Masaya from 6-8pm at the Chapel Cafe, Bishop Street, Leicester LE1 6AF
PROJECT UPDATES and NEWS:
Nicaragua to sign Paris Agreement - read more here
Nicaragua Now - news and stories from and about Nicaragua
Food for Thought (F4T) is a collaborative project between the Leicester Masaya Link Group and the University of Leicester Botanic Garden which has been running since 2005. The project was funded for 3 years by the Department for International Development and is now available for schools to buy in. It can be delivered in two ways.
Food for Thought at the Garden
F4T offers an interactive approach to global citizenship for primary and secondary schools. It brings Leicester’s town-twinning link with Masaya in Nicaragua (Central America) to life in a day of activities at the University of Leicester Botanic Garden, in order to make connections between the various stages of food and commodity production and development issues.
Within the Botanic Garden, the students encounter specific examples and a wide range of plants growing in a tropical environment where the pupils begin their ‘immersion’ into Central America as soon as they arrive. The process of finding out about Nicaragua is done through photographs, case studies and artefacts and is closely linked with the activities they are undertaking ‘in role’.
The pupils are involved in hands-on activities designed to explore how tropical plants are grown and used for food, drink, medicine and crafts in Nicaragua. The pupils take on different roles such as planting and harvesting maize, cooking maize ‘tortillas’,mixing tropical fruit drinks, preparing herbal remedies and making traditional crafts.
Buying and selling their wares in a recreation of a bustling Nicaraguan market, pupils explore the principles of trade in a local economy and they begin to understand the different factors involved in the process of getting produce from the farmer’s field to the market place.
Follow-up sessions in schools focus on international trade and introduce the concept of fair trade, highlighting the challenges and prospects experienced by small-scale producers in developing countries.
The project is aimed at KS 2 and 3 (years 5, 6 and 7) and up to 65 pupils/students can take part in the activity day at the garden.
In 2007, two year 5 teachers at Whitehall Primary School in Leicester (who participated in the 2nd year of the project) developed F4T into a 6 week creativity programme of topic-based work to explore contrasting world localities. The project was used to integrate and embed the global dimension into different subjects and KS2 curriculum areas including geography, DT, Art, ICT, PSHE.
In the first week, the children had a half day introduction to Masaya during which they met two visitors from Nicaragua who talked to them about their daily lives in rural Masaya. In week 2, the children learnt about Food and Farming in Masaya, planting, growing, milling maize and cooking tortillas as well as making popcorn and tropical fruit juices. The third week was dedicated to producing arts and crafts, including wooden toy birds, clay piggy banks, cotton tortilla bags and a papier mache ‘piñata’.
A visit to the Botanic Garden to experience the ‘Whole World Cake’ activity happened in week 4. In the fifth session, the children went to the City Learning Centre to produce a newspaper article about fair trade and design and print a T shirt with Food for Thought logos to wear in the final assembly. The final week focused on a Nicaraguan market stall simulation to buy and sell the goods made during the project. Posters were also made to advertise the assembly.
The children also wrote a song and compiled the assembly and all their work was presented to the whole school, parents and invited guests (including the Food for Thought team from the LMLG, the Botanic Garden and the Fair Trade facilitator as well as a representative from the CLC).
The whole project was documented by the children who did their own follow-up research on Nicaragua to produce individual illustrated booklets about their learning experience in Food for Thought.