Thursday, November 5, 2015
University of New Hampshire EcoGastronomy Dual Major students visited the World’s Fair in Milan, Italy this past week. For the first time in its 164-year history, the world exposition has a theme: How to nourish a future world population of nine billion people (“Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”). The Milan expo confronts a daunting series of issues seen from many lenses. The common theme is awareness and being an informed participant in our food system.
EcoGastronomy students were thrilled at the prospect of seeing the world’s ideas about sustainability and agricultural innovations that are changing the world's farming processes and cutting down hunger and malnutrition. Some of the countries represented excelled at the theme, while others may have used the expo as more of a marketing venture, and some were very good at feeding you.
53 countries built unique pavilions to display their products, host events and more. The other participating countries set up spaces in groups by specific foods such as coffee, cacao, rice, spices and fruits, or by specific sub-categories of the Expo’s main theme, such as islands, the sea and food; food and nutrition in dry zones; or bio-Mediterranean. The United Nations pavilion had the challenge to eliminate hunger in a world where so much food is wasted.
From there the global ideas ranged from the McDonalds pavilion stating that it feeds more people a day than any other institution in the world, to the small scale Italian farmers of the Slow Food movement advocating biodiversity and the importance of regional and local products. The Belgian Pavilion pushed the food envelope with an exhibit examining the notion of insects as food, a concept foreign to the western world. I asked Alexander Harling, an Economics and EcoGastronomy student at UNH, who spent the summer as an intern at the U.S.A Pavilion, whether or not the Expo would push the sustainable food movement forward. “Everyone that visited the expo got the message that there is a problem, and everyone needs to be at the table to discuss it,” remarked Alexander.
U.S.A. Pavilion Vertical Gardens