Food wastage at every step of the process – from cultivation to consumption, is becoming a serious problem globally. Institutions like Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations are trying to bring out the criticality of issue by advocating the need for developing sustainable food management practices. Even United Nations, in a drive to reduce food wastage and make us more mindful of our environment, went as far as preparing lunch from discarded food for world leaders at a conference held in September 2015.
If global leaders being served a meal of scraps does not bring out the seriousness, then maybe our inability to produce enough food for humanity will. For the last couple of years, environmental researchers have been talking about ‘peak food’- a situation where production of certain staple food like wheat, rice, poultry, etc., has become stagnant or has gradually begun to decline. To put it simply, production of food is not in line with or sufficient to meet the needs of agrowing population. And, according to the World Bank’s forecast, globally we will need to produce at least 50% more food to feed 9 billion people by 2050, a demand which can only further increase. Even though the year 2050 is still faraway, quite a few countries are already facing the consequences of this demand-supplymismatch with draughts, famines, andrising food prices.
Understanding the need of the hour, Vedatya Institute’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management has initiated the ‘Farm to Folk’ movement at their campus. Under this initiative, the students at Vedatya are getting a first-hand experience of managing the complete food cycle from cultivation to consumption. The students are being given a hands-on experience of planting, tending and finally harvesting the crops. This harvest is then used as raw ingredients in their culinary practices.
To furtherthe students’ learning and understanding of optimum utilization of food, Vedatya is also collaborating with Slow Food movement’s India chapter. Slow Food is a global grassroots organization that helps promote local food practices and traditions. It is working towards helping people build a healthy interest in food that they eat, how it is procured, and how our food choices are affecting the environment.
Through the ‘Farm to Fork’ initiative and collaboration with Slow Food, Vedatya’s goal is to provide the future chefsand hospitality industry professionals with a 360 degree perspective of food production, hence encouraging them to make more judicious and sustainable choices towards culinary practices. At the very least, the on-campus farming practices at Vedatya raises individual awareness about the complete food cycle and encourages the more enterprising students to implement this experience in their new organizations.
It is no secret that the hotel and restaurant industry contributes to a large chunk of food waste. If this industry becomes more conscious of food waste, it will help in curbing a large percentage of food wastage. We hope that like Vedatya, other institutes and organizations also implement such practices and policies that will help eliminate waste. This will go a long way in preserving the resources that we have and ensure theiroptimum use.
Vedatya Institute is an educator for the service industry. It is an initiative of IIT & the Wharton School alums who wish to replicate their own quality educational experience for the benefit of students in India. Vedatya is funded by the holding entity of Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi, Radisson Blu Varanasi, and a restaurant chain called The Great Kabab Factory. The institute currently offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Hospitality and Business Management. Apart from the full time courses, Vedatya also conducts a range of workshops in areas of hospitality and business for both the students and corporate clients. To know more about the courses and activities of the institute visit http://vedatya.ac.in.