25 Nov 2021 - 30 Sep 2022

Climate-friendly participative cook book for kids

Alan Hesse
Alan Hesse • 25 November 2021

I would like to announce an exciting new project to this Community, both as a way of introducing myself and what I do, and also in the hope of drawing interest and hopefully collaboration if anyone is interested. 


The project:

Participatory, practical education about our relationship with food and how we can use this as a climate solution. 

The project consists of creating a children’s recipe book containing a culturally / geographically diverse range of environmentally friendly recipes framed around the underlying message that adjusting one’s diet can have important positive impact on health and environment.

With a few exceptions the recipes are mostly provided by children, and in some cases their teachers, within the framework of a collaboration with participant schools.

The idea for this book came to me after I attended an online event following the COP26. The event was called the UN Food Summit, and there I heard all about Food Systems and how these can serve to be a unifying force rallying practical climate action in a way that traverses the different sectors and the whole supply chain - from producers to consumers. The next COP will take place in Egypt, and on the webinar the Egyptian Minister of Environment pledged to create the first Food Day in the context of the COP, and to push for getting Food Systems as Climate Solutions recognized as a top area for further discussion and development. 

Three years in to my own work creating educational graphic novels ('bandes dessinées') about climate change ('The Adventures of Captain Polo'), the idea suddenly came to me to ride this wave and create a new book that would use my Captain Polo character, but in a very different way. This book would be non-fiction, and it would directly involve children and their communities (teachers, families) as the contributors of the main content! The link: climate friendly recipes promoting sustainability throughout the food supply chain from producer to consumer.

The idea for 'Captain Polo's International Climate-friendly Cook Book for Kids' was born! If I garner enough support, I may be able to launch this book at COP27 in Egypt. This is perhaps overly ambitious, but where there is a will there is a way! 


The book

The recipes will reflect a range of different cultures, loosely based on Captain Polo’s own travels around the world, as reflected in my comic books.

The book will be organized not by culinary courses but by geographic region, and will include frequent images of Captain Polo, Penguin and other characters from the Adventures of Captain Polo graphic novel series. These characters will occasionally interact and come to life in the form of 'in the margins' illustrations or short comic strips relating to the book’s content and main theme. Other than text, recipes and illustrations the book will contain photos from various sources (author, collaborators, public domain). All images will be duly credited.

Participating children will ideally be within the 8-12 age range and their contributions will be managed exclusively via the schools participating in the project. Children will also be encouraged to optionally submit their own artwork (which may include Captain Polo or other characters) to accompany their recipe contributions.

Alan J. Hesse will be the sole author of the book and will retain intellectual property over the overall work, which will be made available commercially. All contributors will be explicitly and prominently credited as the originators of their individual contributions, be this recipes, photos or illustrations.


The benefits

The participatory nature of this initiative promises a number of benefits:

  • Participating schools can use the initiative to complement lesson plans and class activities around the subjects of climate education, sustainability and crafts (e.g. cooking, baking).

  • By participating in the initiative schools will be advancing their own goals relating to promoting SDGs, climate action and education.

  • All contributions will be published (probably by Alan J. Hesse) and the schools will thus benefit from joint promotional efforts.

  • By participating in this project children will effectively gain a means by which to influence their own families to make more climate-friendly dietary choices. As such, participating in the project thus counts as a form of direct climate action, promoted by schools.

  • The project can be scaled, by virtue of the number of schools and pupils that may participate and the potential for creating a series of cook books to accommodate new contributions and partners. 

If you are interested in this project and want to know more, contact me by email: alan.hesse@gmail.com.

I am actively seeking teachers and schools that would like to join in! 


Comments (4)

Susanne SZKOLA
Susanne SZKOLA

Dear Alan Hesse   ,

  • from a personal perspective, thank you so much for this initiative - more than happy to participate!
  • and from a community perspective, I think in our meeting yesterday teresa CASA  and Livija (her account is not yet there) were very eager to contribute, too.

Let's find our challenge group openly here so that we can take it forward and share information for all interested once :-) 

Alan Hesse
Alan Hesse

Thanks Susanne, that's the idea! My initial post above contains the necessary information to attract anyone interested. If we get a following for this project (which has already started) it will then be a matter of coordinating and co-designing, tailoring to others' interests etc. 

teresa CASA
teresa CASA

Dear Allan, I am the Erasmus+ Coordinator at the school where I teach and we are also currently coordinating a multilateral KA229 (Italy, France, Portugal, Greece and Slovenia): Climate is Changing.Let's Change Climate. Make Difference Together!". Your project sounds very interesting but  we're a vocational school in the sector of food & beverages and hospitality. Our educational offer includes 4 professional qualifications: Cooking, Restaurant Service, Bakery and Pastry and Tourist Hospitality. So, I don't know if the different level of instruction could be managed.

Nevethless, let me know! (teresacasa@tiscali.it)

Best regards 


Alan Hesse
Alan Hesse

Ciao teresa CASA, 

Thanks for the clarifying information. The multinational project you mention sounds very interesting! It sounds like this is adult education, am I right? I'm not sure either at this stage if there would be any scope for collaboration with my cook book project, which at the moment is designed to involve the participation of school kids aged 8 - 12. 

However this project is still in its infancy and can go in many different directions, so I'm open to discussing any ideas at any time. Involving vocational educational initiatives like you mention is certainly an interesting idea, though I'm not sure how that would work right now.

A key component is building synergy with other existing initiatives, because as you evidently agree, we need to make a difference together! 

Stay in touch and reach out any time if you'd like to set up a chat. Can you send me a link to get more information about your school and the KA229 course?

alan.hesse@gmail.com   https://alanhesse.com




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