Main areas of work related to the Convention:
The Norwegian Society of Rural Women has 13,500 members and 450 local groups throughout the country. The organization's activities of performing the practical craft of traditional food largely take place in the local groups. Cooking classes is one of the main activities, both the classes that are held internally and the classes open for others who may be interested. In order to reach children and youth, the organization's local societies also hold cooking classes in both day-care centres and at schools. Through approximately 900 classes and activities annually related to food tradition, old techniques and methods are passed down and the histories conveyed.
The organization's county and local societies have for several years worked purposefully to document and collect local recipes, techniques and histories. This has resulted in approximately 120 cook books.
One of the organization's current activities to impart knowledge and generate interest in Norwegian traditional food is the establishment of a national website with recipes and films displaying old techniques and methods for preservation and preparation of food. The website (www.norsktradisjonsmat.no), will be launched before the summer of 2017 and will contain more than 400 recipes for traditional food, which the local groups in the Norwegian Society of Rural Women have submitted. The website is especially targeting youth and young adults. In connection with the launch of the new website the organization will also collect more traditional recipes from the entire country, through a competition among the local groups.
The organization also works purposefully on measures to engage the local groups through various actions and projects.
The Norwegian Society of Rural Women each year raises awareness about the use of one or several Norwegian food ingredients. In recent years, the organization has focused on oats, root vegetables, fruits and this year on useful wild plants. The use of edible plants in cooking is a knowledge in danger of disappearing and the objective of this action is for more people to become aware of the history, diversity and use of useful plants from the Norwegian nature. Last year more than 100 excursions and outdoor classes in "wild, edible plants" where arranged by our local groups.
One of the organization’s food projects is "Aksjon sunn matglede" ("Operation Healthy Enjoyment of Food"). During the project period 2013-2014, 250 cooking classes were held for children and adults jointly, with the objective of contributing to healthy food habits, increasing the enjoyment of food and enhancing practical knowledge about local food production and cooking among children and adults. With several generations present in the same classes, the practical transmission of tacit knowledge about traditional food was safeguarded. During the project period, the local societies received financial support to hold the cooking classes. The project is currently continued in the organization on a voluntary basis.
The Norwegian Society of Rural Women believes that the local food traditions contribute to shaping the identity of both the local communities and their inhabitants. The members of the organization believe that it is important to safeguard not only for historical purposes, but also to further development, food innovation and new food products. They also see examples currently where knowledge of local produce and the old techniques are crucial for flavour and for local resources actually being used.
The objective of the Norwegian Society of Rural Women is to bring together women who recognize the importance of active rural communities and the primary industries. The Norwegian Society of Rural Women is a non-governmental organization with the objective of safeguarding women's and rural populations' cultural, social and economic interests and contributing to equality, democracy and Christian cultural heritage.
Food and food culture is the main area of expertise, and the NGO aim is to safeguard traditional Norwegian food and food culture heritage. The local produce that people have traditionally been able to access have formed the basis for the Norwegian food culture. Access to, and knowledge about local raw ingredients and seasonal food is important to safeguard the food culture.
It is especially important that tacit knowledge is transmitted through practical work in order for it to survive. Traditional food is food which is based on old artisanal traditions with techniques, customs and methods for storage. Artisanal traditions that have been passed down through generations. In Norway, the knowledge about traditional food has often been passed down from mother to daughter, but in line with other changes in society, this is hardly the case anymore. There are currently fewer people growing their own food, an increase in the consumption of ready-made food and less time for cooking in the busy daily life, while the different generations no longer live in the same house and the knowledge is therefore not necessarily passed down any longer.
The members of the organization work to safeguard food competence and food culture by way of courses and training. They also work to ensure that the school system, day-care centres, museums, farms, chefs and the media take responsibility and an interest in Norwegian food culture.
The Norwegian Society of Rural Women places great trust in its members, who contribute to administering the food culture heritage. Their interest in and contribution to focusing on local raw ingredients and craft traditions are crucial for its maintenance. Seeing the joy and usefulness of food culture heritage encourages maintenance and active use. Each local community, farm and family have their own traditions.
Intangible cultural heritage can best be safeguarded if as many people as possible are familiar with it and practice it. The NGO has extensive experience cooperating with other organizations, businesses and groups.
The Norwegian Society of Rural Women cooperates with other organizations and professional environments for the Norwegian porridge-cooking championship. The competition's objective is to raise awareness about porridge-cooking based on Norwegian grains. To market the event, articles were written about porridge as traditional food and the historical significance porridge has had throughout the ages, as a festive meal and in daily life. To maintain the traditions and experiment with new flavours are equally important.
The Norwegian Society of Rural Women closely cooperates with the Norwegian Agrarian Association and the Norwegian Rural Youth. These organizations both work to maintain local production of food throughout the country. The NGO hosts many events jointly, and have mutual board representation centrally, locally and at the county level. The organizations thereby help each other and raise their issues in the respective organizations.
The Norwegian Society of Rural Women’s local societies also cooperate with various societies and associations in their local communities, including historical societies. This is a way of putting food culture into a broader perspective, locally. The food heritage is also about food traditions in connection with celebrations, holidays, eras, identity and the local culture.
The Norwegian Society of Rural Women is a women’s organization which also works for other issues and with other NGOs. An example of this is the Norwegian Folk Art and Craft Association. Both organizations are interested in craft traditions such as bunad sewing, knitting and sewing. The societies cooperate with others regarding local exhibitions, courses and meeting spaces to create things together.