Origin Food: a market for identity – course starts again March 12

The course Origin Food: a market for identity will start again on Monday, March 12. The course is obligatory in the specialization Gastronomy of the Master Food Technology, but open to students from other masters as well. Last two years students from various masters and nationalities and an interest in food products with a Geographical Indication attended the course: next to Food Technology students from Animal Sciences, Management, Economy and Consumer Studies, Development and Rural Innovation, Nutrition and Health, Organic Agriculture, International Development Studies and a student from Geo-information Sciences completed the course. The interaction between students from different disciplines and nationalities in group assignments and plenary discussions contributes to mutual learning and is highly appreciated by the students. The gastronomic excursion is however seen as the highlight of the course, as Jidi Xu made clear with her video clip of the field trip to the Rhederoord Estate. Continue reading

Education in Urban Agriculture

Urban agriculture (UA) will never substitute food production from farmland but it can contribute to make more fruits and vegetables available near our growing urban world population. This calls for interdisciplinary research, but above all for interdisciplinary education. The next generation of urban farmers and developers is currently applying to our universities. Now the potential of UA is beginning to be realized, these young people will need practical hands-on skills and interdisciplinary knowledge to design new food system solutions. How to use limited space in an intense way, using the newest technology in an ecologically sound way calls for a large number of skills (see growing power). A growing number of universities develops courses and programs on UA (Redwood in Agriculture in urban planning 2009: 236).

A good example of a course which integrates how to learn to grow food and slaughter small poultry livestock with the theoretical knowledge from various disciplines such as soil science, horticulture, (insect) ecology, sociology and biology is the Urban Agriculture course at University of California, Berkeley. According to the course description the interdisciplinarity will

“allow us to better understand the biophysical and socioeconomic opportunities for and obstacles limiting urban and peri-urban agriculture”.

With the next round of education reform towards a semester model coming up, there should be space for a course on Urban Agriculture at Wageningen University.