Gaia Cabinet is a movable furniture unit containing earthworms and organic waste. It has been conceived as an innovative educational tool to teach children how to tackle food waste, stimulate them in eating healthy, growing their own food and being more connected with nature through play, creativity and positivity.
Children needs to reconnect with nature
In recent decades there has been a shift towards more indoor life rather than outdoors. Having worked with children for the past years, I noticed that today many of them are not aware of the problem of food waste, are disconnected from nature and most of the time are scared of animals that live in the natural world, not aware that we are all connected to each other. Nowadays majority of food easily accessible for consumption contains variety of preservatives, additives and chemicals because it has been grown in a soil that has been treated with such substances. Evidences show that plants and food that has grown in a soil treated with chemicals can cause health problems.
Facts about food waste and health of soil
From FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation, United Nations) and Soil Association
Biodiversity – The food not eaten is one of several factors that contribute to biodiversity loss through habitat change, overexploitation, pollution and climate change.
Climate change/pollution – Food and agriculture systems heavily depend on fossil-fuel energy. Petroleum is used in almost every aspect of food production, from creating fertilizers, to mechanized planting and harvesting, irrigation, cooling and transportation. Furthermore, when food is discarded in a landfill and decomposes anaerobically (absence of oxygen), it yields methane emissions, a gas more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat.
Soil – Intensive farming, without allowing fields to lie fallow and replenish, diminishes soil fertility. Not using roughly one-third of the food produced globally means that soil is unnecessarily pressured. Decreased soil quality leads to further use of synthetic inputs that cause pollution and eventually, loss of arable land.
The soil is a living entity not just a medium in which to grow plants. Living soils teem with life, from earthworms, centipedes and beetles to fungi and bacteria. Healthy soil has food, air and water to help plants grow. The more nutrients available in the soil, the more the plant can take up, the more nutrients in the plant, the more available for animals and humans. (Soil Association)
A new education tool
Encouraging children, even on a small scale, to grow their own food. Gaia Cabinet can be the way forward in ensuring that children eat healthier food, therefore breaking the power of multinational corporations that control a big chunk of a food chain mainly made of non-healthy and often GMO food. In addition, growing their own vegetables, fruit or simple edible plants can help them re-connect with nature, therefore appreciating more what they eat and their surrounding environment. It is important that children know and care about nature, earthworms and the food they eat. It is important that they understand the cycle of life, because only through this they will be more empathetic towards the world they live in.