Meeting at Green Academy in Aarhus

The partners of PROGRESS met each other on November 15th for the fourth transnational project meeting at the Green Acadamy in Aarhus. The central theme of this meeting: What is needed to implement sustainability and the SDG’s in our curriculum and didactics to attract more and different kinds of students? In this post a summary of all parts of the program. Some of these will also be posted in more detail as Good Practices in separate posts. See the Good practices.

Program November 15, 2022

Danish Educational System

We start the first meeting day with a welcome and presentation of the Danish educational system. Primary school and lower secondary education is mandatory (class 0 – 9, from the age of four). Then pupils have to choose for general upper secondary education, technical and commercial upper secondary education or VET. VET uses the sandwich model: 1/3 theory and 2/3 practice. The amount of students choosing VET is declining. Only 20% of the pupils choose for VET so this is a huge problem for now and the future considering the labour market.

Vision and curriculum of Green Academy

Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important part of Green Academy’s vision, strategy and activities. They provide education in horticulture, landscaping and agriculture. This is presented and discussed and demonstrated during our tour around the campus, executed by fluently English speaking, very enthusiastic and well informed students and teachers. They are obviously very proud of their school.

Some teachers show us their curriculum and stress the fact that these need to be adapted to the demands of a changing world and changed students, who are more critical than they used to be. The Danish ministry of education is responsible for the curricula, the frame work and the end terms. Changing this in time takes a lot effort and often difficult.

The main problems Green Academy has to face is getting enough qualified teachers and keeping the skills of the teachers up to date.

Gartenieret Pederson

We end today’s program with a visit to a primula (and other plants) nursery: Gartneriet Pedersen. The owner is constantly searching for new ways to run the nursery with sustainable solutions. His company is already very sustainable, circular, it uses less water (because of re-using it) and heating and less and less pesticides. An example for all nurseries. The company offers an internship to 4 to 5 students from Green Academy every year. A perfect place to learn about sustainability.

In the evening we enjoy a typical Danish diner.

Program November 16, 2022

After an early breakfast in the school canteen we leave on the second day to go to the agricultural department of Green Academy

Marina Stannov from the municipality, department of Children and Youth, tells about the assignment she has: make sure that more young people choose vocational education. The points she made:

  • Framework matters (national regulation, city council decisions et…).
  • Framing matters (what/whose problem we are trying to solve).
  • Local initiatives/local collaboration can make a positive difference.
  • Previous initiatives haven’t proved sustainable in the long run–but present initiatives can build on their foundations/activities.

Aarhus municipality goals and projects

She cooperates with Green Academy on this. There are 65.000 children in the municipality and 10.000 employees. The municipality translates the legal framework and national goals into understandable language and tangible goals. There is now a more integrated approach to the problem: government and schools work together through co-creation. Teaching with an outlook to working life, authentic learning by bringing in authentic problems, meaningful learning. Career orientation and guidance should start earlier, not in the last class of primary school. Pupils need to find out where their interests lie. Make it clear where the subjects, they are taught at in school, are needed in the professions, in real life. Open the world for the children; no pushing but showing. Stop talking about VET as a solution to a problem. Later this day we visit the skills, the career experience, organised by the municipality and the schools.

Nature School and Summer camps

Green Academy has his own Nature school (Naturskolen). At Naturskolen they move teaching from the blackboard to reality. They use the natural world around us to work with concrete learning and skills goals in subjects such as maths, biology and social studies, and the framework lends itself well to innovation and collaboration projects. Activities from pre-school to master classes. Children learn about life on a farm, what cows eat, how much water is needed to produce milk, how manure smells and feels, how calves feel. They also learn about another way of feeding: mealworms. How do they look like? How do they feel? How do they taste? How much water do they need before they can be eaten? They learn to see this in relation to the SDGs: pictures with the 17 SDG goals are hanging everywhere in school, clearly visible and relationships are established between the production of food and what that costs the earth (natural resources). Show younger children the real world and let them learn with all senses active.

The Summer camp for children of 12 – 16 years old takes place at the school farm. Sustainability is leading in all subjects on food production; from farm to mouth; climate food printing; importance of seasonal als local food and protein production and climate issues.

Skills competition

After lunch we visit the Skills competition in Aarhus. What an event! Thousands of children, aged about 13 years old, watch the finales of the skills. The competitors need to work with eggs, with wood, with a cutting machine to get the assignments done. Time and execution are leading to get a high ranking which means a starting permit for the National Skills. Exciting!

Wrapp up

The partner meeting is ended as usual with an evaluation of the meeting and the collection of recommendations: what did you learn, what can you use in your own school? It was a very well organised and fruitful meeting. Thank Lotte Skjærbæk and Michael Sejer and all your collegaes!

Countries Curriculum & Program Good Practices The Netherlands

Field beans Terra project

The field bean is an old crop that is currently very popular with growers in the province of Groningen. However, it is not widely used for human consumption, although it is possible. Terra’s students got to work on it. The beans are grown at the Suikerterrein in Groningen, among other places, which is also a learning environment for Terra students. They were right on top when the beans were harvested and dried.

Sustainable crop

The field bean has many advantages. They contain a large amount (more than 27%) vegetable proteins. And the field beans retain the nitrogen in the roots, so it does not end up in the soil. The cultivation of the field beans improves the soil and biodiversity.

Protein transition

If people eat more broad beans, they get vegetable proteins and they no longer need to get their proteins from animal products. This means fewer animals are needed and CO2 emissions will be reduced.


Many field beans are still used for livestock farming. That is a shame, because many of these beans can also be used for human food. The students were commissioned by the Toentje Foundation to make a tasty end product. This ensured that the products end up at the Food Bank.

The result: a gluten-free pasta, pizza base and a dipping sauce. The students took a good look at the different target groups for the products, these are very suitable for use!

Cooperating parties:

  • Toetje Foundation
  • The food bank
  • Terra Groningen

With the flour of the field bean you can make surprisingly tasty products. The Terra students discovered this during their very first project assignment. The problem for which a solution was sought was an issue surrounding the field bean. What can you make from the field bean, pure or grinded? The students were given five weeks to think about it, make a prototype and design a packaging with a flyer. In good spirits, three groups of students set to work with the ‘Design-Thinking’ method. Some products turned out not to be the right choice and students simply started experimenting again. Ultimately, a prototype field base (pizza), a dipping sauce and a pasta were developed and presented to client Jos Meijer van Toentje, the social vegetable garden in the city of Groningen. But of course much more can be made from field beans and field bean flour. Students submitted their solutions for the Impact Prize of Groenpact. They were all nominated! And on March 4, 2021, the redeeming answer finally came. The students won the 1st prize, a cash prize of € 2500.00. Together with the students, we devise a good destination for this amount of money. They are thinking about improving the prototypes and scaling up the products.

We have now grinded more than 300 kilos of field bean flour and students pack this in sealable bags, make a label and a logo. They are now trying to sell the flour during an alternative internship. Not all students have been able to find a good internship, which is why we came up with this project. All courses are reflected in the project. Students go through the various work processes with an external supervisor.

First of all, the students have now gained experience in promoting their product in Ekoplaza Drachten. There the students were given a presentation table to present the flour. “It went like a train, customers were very enthusiastic,” says Elina, who was working in the Ekoplaza. Now the next step is looking for more companies to get sales done. If successful, the students can educate farmers so that they start thinking about growing differently.

The students also came up with various recipes and put this into a recipe booklet. This link will take you to their online recipe booklet.

This way of entrepreneurial education is typical for Terra. Collaborate with the real, working world. Receive assignments from entrepreneurs and governments who develop the students in project groups. The themes vary according to the field of study. Field beans project was an assignment for the students of the Food, Life & Innovation program.

This way of entrepreneurial education is typical for Terra. Entrepreneurs and governments provide assignments or issues to the students, which they then carry out in project groups. The students must link each project, each assignment, to one or more SDG goals. A very good way to raise awareness among students and teachers. The themes vary according to the field of study. Field beans project was an assignment for the students of the Food, Life & Innovation program.

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