Associated with National Museum of Natural History and Science, University of Lisbon

Grow Local, Eat Healthy

Two science cafés took place on 11th April and 16th May 2018 in Lisbon under the motto “Grow Local, Eat Healthy”, aiming to increase interest and engagement from the general public and stakeholders in healthy and sustainable food.

General public and specialists from the areas of nutrition, public health, local association for native production and agriculture were involved: 

  • Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies
  • Confraria do Chícharo
  • Institute for Studies on Literature and Tradition
  • ‘Direção-Geral da Saúde’
  • Health Museum
  • Instituto Nacional de Saúde - Dr. Ricardo Jorge (Food and Nutrition Department)

Grow Local, Eat Healthy science cafe in Lisbon

Photo credit: Raquel Barata

Five dimensions were discussed on the themes among the groups to raise related scientific questions: 

  1. Eat local and seasonal products, include native species and a Mediterranean diet (food and attitudes)
  2. Eat healthy, less meat, sugar and salt - a balanced diet
  3. Be active on disseminating and searching for information among national programs (ex. about food choices or reading labels)
  4. Avoiding food related illnesses and allergies by preserving natural resources (water, soil, air, biodiversity and energy) and avoiding pesticides and chemicals
  5. Reduce individual and collective food waste also searching for national initiatives and guidelines

Moreover, the actual guidelines for the consumer and for children’s and adults’ education by the Direção-Geral da Saúde were mentioned. The reduction of the use of salt and the consumption of meat that should be replaced by the consumption of legumes were noted as goals of these guidelines. At the same time, the issue of food packaging and labelling that reflect the nutritional indication and which guide consumers to choose the best foods was addressed.

Evaluation was done using observation tables to collect the groups’ participation and using what the team called “mind plates” before, during and after the session.

The session had 36 participants and a very positive impact since they felt involved in the discussion, got some information they were looking for and enjoyed spending time at the events. Analysis of the “mind plate” and of the observation tables will give us an idea of the impact in participants’ perception towards nutrition, food choices as being sustainable ones but also about their perception and attitudes about individual and collective responsibility, including public organisms. Next steps will allow analysis to help the development of future science cafés.