Geitmyra Culinary Center for Children is my way to give back. And much more. It is growing and growing, with centres in four Norwegian cities – Oslo, Ringsaker, Kristiansand and Trondheim – and a new center planned for Tønsberg.
When I first saw Geitmyra farm in 2009, I was immediately inspired. The houses, dating back to the mid 18th century were rather dilapidated, but what struck me was how unique the place was: An old farm, in the middle of Norway’s capital, Oslo, a place with a touch of history and closeness to nature.
Ever since I had my own children, I have become more and more interested in what we teach our kids about the food we eat – how to prepare it, and appreciate it, and also how to respect nature and the farmers and fishermen that produce the food for us.
I knew right away that this would be the right place to teach kids about food. Two years later, and with the help of a great many supporters, colleagues and volunteers, the center opened in September 2011, and ever since the kitchen and garden has been full of children.
Some children come through a school project that we run in cooperation with the education department in Oslo: 6th graders spend one week with us, and learn not just to cook, but also about where the food comes from. They spend time gardening, picking vegetables, herbs and fruits, they dig in the ground and study the fascinating processes going on in the compost heap.
We also have day visits from school classes, kindergarten and we arrange courses and activities during school holidays. In the evening and during weekends there are courses for kids and families that want to learn to cook and bake. And four to six times a year we arrange “Open farm” days, where we invite families to come and join us in exciting food related activities, from pressing apples and exploring the wide varieties of apples that grow in Norway, to sausage making.
Geitmyra Culinary Center for Children is a non-profit foundation.
We are funded by grants from the government (especially the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs), and private organizations and businesses. We have a long term rental agreement with the municipality of Oslo.