Eco-Gastronomy Studies in Kerala

24 Mar 2009

A group of students of the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy are currently meeting local farmers and agricultural groups in Kerala to discuss and see first hand the kinds of problems they are grappling with in this southwestern tip of India.

‘Since ours is a consumer State, we are at the receiving end of the genetically modified (GM) food menace. Some GM food obviously enters our food chain from other States. The unwillingness to ban GM food does not help matters,’ Power Secretary Mr Radhakrishnan told the group of fifteen.

The students met with agriculture scientists, Government officials and the media at the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA), where they were given an overview of the ‘Annam’ movement inspired by the Slow Food philosophy.

A statewide campaign aimed at food security, safe food and food sovereignty, Annam is a joint project between CISSA, The Environment Collaborative, Navdanya and Slow Food International. The movement aims to facilitate the return of ‘good food culture’ among communities and to preserve the country’s agricultural biodiversity.

Renowned environmentalist Dr Vandana Shiva – founder of Navdanya and vice-president of Slow Food – spoke at the launch of Anssa last year about the link between farmer suicides and the introduction of genetically modified seeds. ‘Wherever non-renewable seeds have entered, the suicide rate of farmers in these areas is high’, she said.

The UNISG group is on a seven-day visit to India, with simultaneous trips by their fellow students taking place in Cuba and Spain. The University of Gastronomic Sciences has a unique interdisciplinary approach that bridges agricultural science and gastronomy, and includes an extensive program of stages (field seminars). Each stage include visits to producers, consortia and companies in the field where local experts provide in-depth lessons covering the entire production chain of a wide range of foods.


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