School visits to markets: a new success for participation during the school year

City markets received nearly 8,000 school students during the 2016-2017 school year, in over 200 programmed visits.

During the 2016-2017 school year, the Barcelona Municipal Institute of Markets continued to provide schools with information about healthy lifestyle habits, in collaboration with the F.C. Barcelona Foundation, through its primary and secondary school education programme “Eat healthily, eat from the market”.

The aim of the educational programme is to transmit the concept of markets as a local service providing care, quality and healthiness for children, young people and their families, together with the advantages of doing sport as an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The programme is run from the first years of primary to the last years of obligatory secondary school. It can therefore be developed through all educational stages, with knowledge and experiences adapted to the age of the students. Furthermore, during the last school year, P4 and P5 pupils were introduced to the programme, with a specific activity using the story “The secret mysteries of Barcelona’s markets”.

Although the city’s markets mostly receive groups of primary and secondary school students, there are also groups of adults, such as those from the linguistic normalisation, special education and vocational training centres, as well as school groups from outside Barcelona.

During the last school year, there were a total of 222 visits to Barcelona markets, with 7,819 students taking part, which is 19% more than the previous school year. A total of 136 schools took part in these visits, 124 of which were from the city of Barcelona, with 12 coming from other towns and cities. There are a total of 422 primary and secondary educational centres in the city of Barcelona, so those 124 schools mean a 29% participation rate.

Schools from the districts of the Eixample, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, Horta-Guinardó, Nou Barris and Sant Martí were the most participative, visiting their local markets. Above all, the most participative age group were primary school students, making up 24% of all participants. ESO students [obligatory secondary education], with 6% of all visits, are usually students who concentrate on a specific subject, for their end of course work.

Most schools choose to visit their neighbourhood market, which is the closest one to them, and this also means that the students become familiar with responsible consumerism and local commerce. Although educational centres usually visit a market once, there are also schools that repeat the experience with various classes from different school years, or which visit two different markets, in order to work on their differences and similarities.

During the visits, the market manager receives the school groups and provides an introductory talk on the facility’s history and characteristics. Then the teachers, in the case of young children, or the presenters complete the visit, explaining various matters concerning the food, the stalls and the types of commerce, depending on the school year and the corresponding route.

Schools and other educational centres, including those for adults and vocational training give a very positive assessment of the programme. It is adapted to each type of audience and this allows them to find out more specific things about the markets, some of which are unknown to the general public.

Enrolment is already open for market visits during the forthcoming 2017-2018 school year, on the educational programme website: menjodemercat.cat.