Cooking for Our Future: Young Gastronaut from Bandung

By: M. Rianto Utama (Tommy)


Gastronomy – a practice or art of choosing, cooking and consuming good food – is not the domain of only chefs or foodies anymore. Around 100 students from two state primary schools in Bandung: SDN 200 Leuwipanjang and SDN 033 ASMI have proven their participation in gastronomic movement. They took part in playing a thematic board game regarding healthy food, gardening with urban farmers, and cooking with chefs. They showed us that gastronomy has a universal value and is open for all. After all, children have a very important role as the change agent of the future in the gastronomy scene.

The Inclusive Gastronomy project in Bandung aims to provide space for low-income communities for them to play a more important role in the gastronomic movement. This project focuses on organizing a food festival targeting children, teachers and parents in both schools, which also involved Bandung Public Health Department and the Education Department. The activity engaged schools, as schools can function as centers of interaction for community. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 must get a balanced nutritional intake to build a healthy generation and produce high quality human resources.

This project is a collaboration between Hivos, Kummara (a game design studio from Bandung), House The House (festival coordinator), Komunitas 1000 Kebun (community of urban farmers), and Generasi Baru Dapur Indonesia or NGIC, New Generation of Indonesian Cooking (a multistakeholder platform for sustainable diets and healthy living).

Students learn how to take care of plants as part of the planting and harvesting session led by 1000 Kebun.

Gastronaut board game as a learning method

Kummara specifically designed and developed this board game to be used as an interactive tool to deliver values of gastronomy movement. It is a game-based learning process which includes a healthy-food mini festival and a competition conducted by House The House (HTH), Komunitas 1000 Kebun, and NGIC. They named the project ‘Gastronaut Festival’ which is formed by combining Gastronomy and Astronaut –inspired by the adventurous nature of space exploration. Gastronaut was chosen as the main title of the whole program. This is engaging for elementary school students in recognizing the program brand and exploring more about the gastronomy movement.

This project designed Gastronaut board game based on a program by the Health Ministry, Pedoman Gizi Seimbang or Balanced Nutrition Guidelines, as well as Isi Piringku or My Plate concept. This project used both concepts to design Gastronaut board game. In this game, students are divided into two groups and compete to get the highest score by combining proportional food ingredients.

Playing, Picking, Cooking

The purpose of Gastronaut Festival is to see the participants’ engagement and potentials for a better impact, as we aim to distribute information to wider audience regarding balanced diet and healthy eating habit, targeting middle-low income communities. It presents the whole integrated process of food preparing, which starts from food choices and healthy compositions of food ingredients, planting and harvesting (food production), and cooking. The whole event was organized by HTH and conducted by all the working team in the partnership based on each team proficiencies.

  1. Playing, a game-based learning, led by Kummara

By using the specifically custom-made Gastronaut board game, Kummara team conducted a game-based learning session. It aims to deliver the main information and  messages as a foundation of the whole program purposes and goals. The participants compete to gather nutritious food from different planets. The group with the biggest points is the winner.

  1. Picking, a planting and harvesting session, led by 1000 Kebun

The 1000 Kebun community team provided necessary tools and assisted the students in planting and harvesting plant-based food products. This session includes content delivery regarding food sources and production.

  1. Preparing and cooking, led by HTH and NGIC

Chefs from Keuken and NGIC prepared the food together with the students. They delivered information about proper food preparation during this session. It was an integral part of the whole gastronomy movement, especially for healthy eating habit and preparation.

Kenza, one of the students, said, “It was fun! We were planet hopping to search healthy food. We learned about health, vegetables, and fruits, because we should eat nutritious food that contains vitamins and protein.”

A Game That Changes

Using the specifically designed game of Gastronaut and other related game activities, we introduced the basic knowledge of Balanced Nutrition and Healthy Diet to the participants. They can play the game repeatedly to ensure their familiarity to the concept.

The students also learned about ingredients from the harvesting session, and the process of food preparation and cooking. Schools can conduct cooking activities together or create a small cooking contest between classes. Other area can replicate the program using the formulated steps and adjust it to accommodate local food ingredients and gastronomic cultures, thus making gastronomy movement more inclusive.

Gastronaut board game, an interactive learning method to deliver values on gastronomy movement.

Gastronaut Goes to Jember

The Gastronaut board game does not stop in Bandung. We are planning to play the game in Jember, East Java with children from the Ledokombo subdistrict, where Tanoker (Hivos partner in SD4All program) is located. We expect to produce new experiences and learning in different areas and cultures, because each region has its own potential and uniqueness.