Diego Ruete

Ashoka Fellow
Uruguay
Fellow Since 2016

Citation

This profile was prepared when Diego Ruete was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.
Introduction
Diego promotes the connection between food, nutrition and play-based education through his organization Petit Gourmet. Diego enables children to be the protagonists of their learning process as well as the connection points between food, their family and their community. He created the term Educocina or “Fooducation” which encompasses the process, creativity, motivation and wellbeing of his approach.

Petit Gourmet is essentially a cooking school and program for young children that take place in both his space in Montevideo as well as in public and private schools throughout the country. Diego s approach creates a learning path from the garden, to cooking and group learning, all the way to consumption. During the process children reconnect with the natural source of food, and are taught life skills which result in creativity in cooking and learning approaches while developing family and community bonds through feeding.

Petit Gourmet’s approach is called Educocina which combines the values of cooking and education, using one another to fulfill the ultimate goal: educating through cooking and learning to be a more responsible food consumer through education. Therefore, Educocina seeks to educate children about food related issues, from the beginning of food on the ground to its preparation and ways of ingestion.

Focusing on children between the ages of 4-12 years of age, Diego is interested in raising children with healthy habits that result in them respecting the earth and eating healthy. Children learn how to contribute directly to a healthy diet and thus recognize that they can themselves produce their own food. Children who go through the Educocina experience are able to being impacting their family and from there, the rest of the community with a quality of life that encourages healthier habits.

Diego, through Petit Gourmet is systematically developing workshops with children in their own communities and educational institutions. Petit Gourmet also conducts workshops in health institutions, private companies and other areas where their services are requested. Diego also gives lectures and workshops to parents and civil servants, based on requests from particular educational or health institutions and private companies.

A key objective for Diego is to achieve public awareness on how everyday activities like cooking and feeding (to which society tends to devote less and less time to) can be teaching tools to strongly encourage a change in the quality of the development in the live of children and the whole family. Diego almost 20 years combined chef and preschool educator experience. Having worked with children for so many years in both school and after school activities has enabled Diego to perceive early on what at the time appeared as an emerging problem and today is widespread: the current gap between children and nature, which as a result affects the chances of a healthy diet and optimal stimulation of their development.
The New Idea
The Problem
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The Person

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