The main goal of this project is to connect European cultural heritage with human and environmental health. The objective of the project is to define walking routes and a recipe book to highlight European culture, promote exercise, mindfulness, nutrition, and work towards sustainability goals. The walking routes, the recipe book and all the activities associated with the project will be put into a mobile application and onto an online platform that people will be able to access from anywhere. The NHS recommends regular exercise, including at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week - this project wants to link exercise with cultural exercise and also a healthy diet. Walking is low in terms of the environmental impact of the people who take part in it, as people are spending their time walking rather than other forms of transport, therefore encouraging wider sustainability goals. Walking is also an opportunity to practice mindfulness to foster mental wellbeing. The NHS states that mindfulness can lead to greater mental wellbeing. Walking is considered a form of mindfulness practice. Through the creation of a recipe book and participation in cooking workshops, participants will explore nutrition and sustainable food systems.
The walking routes will be specified based on parts of well-established walking routes such as West Highland Way in Scotland and the seven official routes of the St. James Way in Spain. In October 1987, the most popular route of the St. James Way, the French Way, was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe. The St. James Way brings people together and creates an atmosphere of intercultural understanding. The route has also kept small villages in Spain from becoming unpopulated. It is for these reasons that we believe a similar approach could also enhance the economic and cultural opportunities in other areas of Europe. The walking routes will also include information about wider sustainability goals, such as the importance of conserving water in drier areas such as Greece and Spain, and also natural resources, which will be one of the main innovative aspects of this project. The routes will also make an emphasis on physical and mental health and will include mindfulness activities for people to practice during the walks. Participants will be signposted by the mobile application to the local cuisine and recipes also available through the. Cuisine is also an intrinsic part of European culture and heritage, with recipes going back for millennia and learning about them will also provide an opportunity for participants to learn about nutrition and sustainable food systems. Lastly, the routes will allow for the inclusion of people with fewer opportunities to be able to do them too.
There are four organisations in this partnership. The Surefoot Effect CIC, based in Stirling, UK develops programmes in the fields of environmental and climate change awareness, resilience and mindfulness. Surefoot will be the leading organisation and the partner responsible for the inclusion of sustainability goals in the different activities of the project. AbrazoHouse is based in the region of Cantabria, northern Spain and hosts an educational centre based in a complex built following sustainable architecture and food production principles. AbrazoHouse will lead on the creation of recipes that use ingredients that follow nutrition and sustainability guidelines. IFIKE is based in Athens, Greece. IFIKE creates new online digital technologies, including those focussed on neuroscience, to develop different educational programmes. IFIKE will develop the project platform and mobile application. Ziniu is based in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, and works in different learning programmes for youth, the elderly and people with disabilities. In this project, Ziniu will lead on the inclusion of people with fewer opportunities.
The project will see the creation of 3 walking routes varied to attract a range of physical capability and make them available to as many people as possible, including people with fewer opportunities. The project will also create a recipe book with 40 recipes to show the local, regional and national culinary heritage of the UK, Spain, Lithuania and Greece and select them according to their nutritious value and sustainability criteria as recommended by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations where the ingredients are produced locally, unprocessed, low in red meat and fish, and produce little waste. The project will hold 3 workshops to prepare people for the the walking routes and 3 cooking workshops to showcase the recipes.
The project will work with adult educators and people working in the adult education field and will focus on those working in health, exercise, mindfulness, nutrition, broader sustainability goals and also those working in the use of online digital technologies and people with fewer opportunities.