Category: Food (page 1 of 13)

Tufts Student Studies Sustainability and Food Systems in Italy

PERUGIA, Italy — “So many people told me that the most important thing I could do at Tufts would be to study abroad. Tufts really focuses on intercultural communication and awareness,” said Alex Cherry from his seat at a café in the center of Perugia, Italy. Alex is pursuing a Dual Major in International Relations and Environmental Studies at Tufts University, though he is currently studying abroad through the Food & Sustainability Studies Program (FSSP) at the Umbra Institute, an American study abroad program in Italy.

At Tufts, Alex says that his educational background has had a focus on the science and policy of environmental studies, while at Umbra “the focus has been more on cultural identity and the contrasting ways that different societies produce and consume food.” Umbra’s FSSP is a curricular concentration that applies an interdisciplinary approach to the study of food and sustainability in order to discover how the individual, the community, and society relate to food in Italy, America, and elsewhere. As part of the program, Alex has taken courses in the history and culture of food, sustainability and food production, and the business of wine.

A key characteristic of the FSSP is that all courses include a series of co- and extra-curricular activities as a supplement to topics discussed in class. To develop a deep understanding of various food production processes, Alex has spent his semester cooking an antique Roman recipe in Florence; exploring an ancient pharmacy to learn about the medicinal characteristics of food; touring multiple, family-run, organic wineries and cheese producers; working in a synergistic garden; and visiting local farmers’ markets. He has also had the opportunity to go truffle- hunting in the hills of Umbria and discuss organic agriculture with Matteo Bartolini, a lobbyist for the European Agricultural Commission for Sustainable Agricultural Reform. When asked what he thought of the flurry of community engagement activities that filled his semester, Alex responded, “What’s the point of being a student? Why am I studying? It is so that I can be trained in a professional way so that I can go and do something for the community that I am a part of.”

In addition to his courses within the FSSP, Alex chose to compliment his semester studies with CESP 351: Fair Trade Practices: Seminar and Practicum. During the course’s practicum, Alex works in a local fair trade shop and assists with the advertisement of events that promote fair trade concepts to the locals of Perugia. He commented that the shop’s community is welcoming to volunteers of all backgrounds, including locals with mental or physical disabilities. “The whole ethos of what they do is making sure that everyone is getting what they deserve, to create a community space,” said Alex as he described how the fundamentals of fair trade translate into the shop’s community. During the seminar portion of the course, the class reviews the impact of fair trade on both local and global economies, the place for fair trade inside the global market, and the role of the World Fair Trade Organization. Readings and discussions offer comparative analysis of Italian and American perspectives on global markets and the complexities of communicating such a topic across cultures.

As he ended his conversation with Umbra staff, Alex explained that he feels it is important for students of an interdisciplinary field, such as food and environmental studies, to learn to have a well-rounded perspective that discounts neither science nor culture and history. He concluded saying, “I am really glad that I got to see both the Italian and American perspective [on food systems] at the same time and in the same place.”

About Food & Sustainability Studies at the Umbra Institute:

The Food & Sustainability Studies Program is an interdisciplinary curricular concentration at the Umbra Institute, an American study abroad program located in the central Italian city of Perugia. Often called a “big university town in a small Italian city,” Perugia is the ideal setting to study abroad in Italy, with fine arts, business, and liberal arts courses. For more information about the Umbra Institute or its Food & Sustainability Studies Program, contact the associate director of the Program, Zachary Nowak (znowak@umbra.org). You can also watch a short video describing studying at the Umbra Institute.

Food For Those in Need

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Students and staff help rescue prepared foods and create ready-to-eat meals for local families

Get the full story on Tufts Now.

Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative Fall 2016 Summary

We would like to congratulate the Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative, Tufts Dining, and Food For Free on an amazing fall semester! The infographic below shows what they accomplished in 2016.

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5 ways to make your Thanksgiving more sustainable

5 ways to make thanksgiving more sustainable

We’re all excited for the upcoming holiday, but let’s also be conscious of our environmental impact. According to the USDA, Americans will throw away more that 200 million pounds of edible turkey meat this Thanksgiving holiday. Here are a few ways to prevent the wasteful and tragic aftermath of Thanksgiving.

  1. Eat local and/or organic. Many Thanksgiving foods like squash, potatoes, and apples are seasonal in the U.S. during the fall and can be purchased from a local farm. Local farms reduce the miles that the food has to travel to get to your kitchen, reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Some local farms are certified organic, but you should ask the farm if they have organic practices. You can also purchase organic produce from a grocery store. Organic produce protects farm workers from harmful chemicals and is safer for humans. Most importantly though, local and organic food tastes better!
  2. Don’t waste food! Americans waste 40% of all food produced in the United States according to the NRDC. You could give out leftovers to guests, eat it as breakfast, or even compost and transform food waste to benefit your garden. “Begin with the Bin” has a great resource for composting leftover food.
  3. Use reusable plates, silverware, glasses, and napkins. This is better for the environment, and no one likes cutting turkey with a plastic knife and having gravy soak through paper plates.
  4. Eat less meat. The meat industry is the largest source of methane gas, which is a major contributor to climate change. You don’t have to be a vegetarian, but try having less meat on the plate and filling the rest of it with healthy sides like squash and green beans! You could also consider purchasing a smaller turkey.
  5. Drink tap water. Americans spend $18 billion on bottled water, which creates mountains of plastic that will stay on this earth for a long time. If you are concerned about the water quality, investing in a filter for your tap water is a wiser alternative.

Tufts Dining Achieves 3-Star GRA Certification

On September 29th, Tufts Dining achieved the 3-star certification from the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a nonprofit organization that recognizes food service providers for their work to become environmentally sustainable.

GRA rates on a 4-star scale in seven categories including:

  • Water efficiency
  • Waste reduction and recycling
  • Sustainable/durable goods and building materials
  • Sustainable food
  • Energy use
  • Reusable and environmentally-preferable disposables
  • Pollution/chemical reduction.

Tufts is the first university to earn 10 GreenPoints™in each category and receive the 3-star certification for all ten of its dining locations on campus, and the first GRA-certified food service provider in Medford/Somerville!

Some of the changes Tufts Dining made include switching to low-flow aerators and pre-rise sprays, changing over to LED lighting in Dewick-MacPhie, and launching Rise Craft Pizza at Hotung Café which features environmentally friendly pizza boxes.

Tufts Dining plans to continue its sustainability initiatives and push for as many 4-star locations as possible. They will start by updating dish machines with a much more energy and water efficient machine in Mugar Hall.

 

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