17.4.2024 / News

Vegemi Food Education Method: A Wellbeing and Eco-Initiative in Early Childhood Education in Tampere

Many cities and municipalities have awakened to the importance of food education for children and young people. Childhood obesity, various lifestyle diseases such as the growth of type 2 diabetes, and mental health challenges are ever-growing concerns. According to a study published in April 2024, the percentage increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes among under 25-year-olds in Finland was higher than in any other compared Western European country in the Global Burden of Disease study*. The increase in prevalence was 285% from 1990 to 2019. In 2019, only the UK had a higher prevalence of the disease in this age group than Finland. New methods for educating children and young people about better lifestyles are needed, and Vegemi, a growth company, has responded to this need.

“Vegemi tasks are fun, Vegemi is a fun game, Vegemi encourages trying new vegetables.” These are some of the words used by children in the preschool group at Lentävänniemi School in Tampere to describe Vegemi. Lentävänniemi School has been one of the preschools in the Tampere area where Vegemi has become a part of children’s everyday lives. The City of Tampere launched Vegemi in preschool education and for five-year-olds at the beginning of 2024. The initiative is part of the Carbon Neutral Actions development program and the FUSILLI project. The role of food education in promoting sustainable consumption and lifestyle is undeniable.

At the heart of the method is Vegemi, a fictional, beneficial stomach bacteria that gains superpowers from various vegetables, fruits, and berries, based on EU-approved health claims about the effects of vegetables on human wellbeing. Current research also emphasises the quality and diversity of the gut microbiome in the prevention of lifestyle diseases and obesity, as well as in strengthening immunity and mental well-being. The Vegemi food education method for early childhood education was developed in collaboration with the City of Espoo and is based on ten different modules. These modules introduce children to Vegemi, the stomach bacteria, and various vegetables, fruits, and berries through the superpowers they provide. The Vegemi early childhood education method combines various learning tasks, play, songs, and crafting tasks, as well as guidance for conducting food education moments and delivering nutritional information.


Image Source: City of Tampere

“Vegemi is an inspiring food education method to increase well-being and, at the same time, an impactful climate action for the City of Tampere. We feel that the city must support children’s and families’ interest in eating fruits and vegetables due to their undeniable health benefits and for the sake of the environment. A vegetable-based diet is the diet of the future. Systematic food education starting from early childhood is also an important measure to reduce health inequalities. It’s great that we can collaborate with early childhood education and make the Vegemi food education method accessible to all preschool groups and five-year-olds,” says project coordinator Elina Pulliainen from the City of Tampere.

The Vegemi concept is multi-channel, and in addition to teaching during preschool/kindergarten days, a child can continue learning with Vegemi at home through the Vegemi application. The Vegemi mobile app was launched in the summer of 2022 and has now been downloaded by over 10,500 families to support their food education. The application has already recorded 5.5 million events, such as vegetable identification using XR technology or feeding Vegemi with vegetables.


Image Source: City of Tampere

“Our Vegemi method combines food, well-being, and eco-education, so it’s great that Vegemi also plays a role as a climate action for the City of Tampere. We believe in experiential learning and that a child is naturally a curious, knowledge-seeking actor and influencer. Our interdisciplinary collaboration with early childhood education and the Fusilli project is a great example of how we can equip children with an understanding of the impact of their choices and, at the same time, offer them memorable moments with Vegemi’s adventures,” says Emilia Järvinen from Vegemi.

In addition to Tampere, the Vegemi food education method is used in preschool groups in the City of Espoo, in a private daycare chain, and the City of Vantaa is launching Vegemi into its early childhood education starting from August. Vegemi is currently negotiating partnerships with several municipalities and private daycare centres. Additionally, Vegemi is expanding its operations significantly in international markets. The Vegemi method is used in the UK as part of the government’s Holiday Activities and Food programs, and the company is negotiating partnerships with several international actors. Earlier this year, Vegemi gained international visibility at the United Nations-led SDG Lab event in Davos, where Vegemi was presented as an exemplary solution for implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.


For more information: www.vegemi.fi


Emilia Järvinen, Co-founder, Vegducation Ltd



Elina Pulliainen, Project Coordinator



Tiina Leinonen, Program Manager




*International Journal of Public Health article:


Vegemi was founded in Finland, and also partakes in collaboration with the SSO supermarket chain.

The project is financed as part of the measures implemented by the European Union due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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