Investigating local & sustainable food systems
Concerns about the planet's burgeoning population and the earth's dwindling resources lead to many questions about the future; one of the most pressing and basic issues is food. How will we be able to feed the estimated the almost 10 billion people who will live on planet Earth in 2050? Our current food systems, which rely heavily on fossil fuels, factory farms and an abundance of chemicals, will not be sustainable in meeting this capacity. Even at current levels, we are straining the planet and are consuming more resources than the Earth can replenish.
As concerned global citizens, how can we respond to this impending crisis? And how do our personal choices about food connect to or effect the bigger picture?
These questions, among others, formed the basis of a recent unit of study for AP Language and Composition students at Concordia, and the unit culminated in a field trip to a local organic farm and an organic, fair-trade chocolate factory.
At the Biofarm, students engaged in dialogue with a farmer about how and why local, organic food systems are crucial in terms of current and future sustainability. At Zotter's Chocolate Theatre, students learned more about the impact of fair trade economics and the value of working with local co-operatives. At both places, social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility were explored. Students were encouraged to think about the ways in which business can be used as a tool or vehicle for social change.
It was a fruitful day, full of camaraderie and rich discussion (and the sampling of many delicious foods!). After reading Jonathan Safran Foer's non-fiction text Eating Animals, along with essays and poems by Wendell Berry, it was a perfect way to consolidate learning and also meet local people investing in food for the future.
AP Language and Composition students have also completed research about local organizations and businesses in Shanghai that promote or cultivate local, organic food/food systems. Here is a list compiled by students that may be of interest to anyone who wants to engage in supporting sustainable and healthy alternatives.
Mahota free range pork, poultries, and eggs: http://www.themahota.com/en/pgi-products.html#
Helekang: cage free, free range chickens and eggs: http://www.helekang.com/english/index.php
Haikele: free range chickens and eggs, no antibiotics: http://www.haikele.com
Thought For Food (local, organic): http://www.livingoctave.com/en-us/ttf/sangha/
Pure and Whole (Kelly Center: organic, whole food): http://www.pureandwhole.com/?utm_source=tripadvisor&utm_medium=referral
Hunter Gatherer (local, organic): http://www.behuntergatherer.com/
Organic Kitchen: http://www.organickitchenshanghai.com/menu_appetizer_en.php