As part of UNISG’s unique educational design, students participate in a series of study trips, or stages,taking them out of the classroom and into direct contact with the people and places where food is made. Because gastronomy incorporates science, theory, and human relations, this learning experience is key to a complete, contextualized understanding of the subject.
Study trips give students the chance to learn about food production—from scientific theory to traditional techniques—directly from farmers and producers, processors and chefs. The innovative model is a key moment in the UNISG education, during which facts and practice are synthesized into knowledge.
This format also incorporates learning about the wide range of material culture and food systems of the world, of the traditions and history connected to food, and of how value is added to primary ingredients through their transformation into high-quality products. Within this context, numerous issues around culture, health and well-being, and biodiversity are addressed, as well as environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
In September, Necofa hosted 14 students from Unisg together with their tutor who arrived in Kenya geared for their study trip on Kenyan food culture, food production environment, lifestyles, etc. The students spent 10 days, travelling around the towns and villages in Kenya. They visited the Kenya meat commission where they learnt all the stages of meat processing from the slaughtering stage to packaging, they travelled to Kiambu to visit a farmer who practices sustainable Agriculture through organic farming, while in Kiambu they had the opportunity to savour the popular nyama choma goat ribs, kikuyu traditional brew which they all liked very much. They visited Keroche Industries one of the local kenyan breweries, where they learnt about the summit beer production, they visited Kiptagich tea factory, they learnt about tea production, processing, packaging and marketing, they had lunch together with the community members living around the area and they were very happy to mingle with the locals. Homabay was their next stop, they visited Clepp organization where they learnt about peanut butter production and value addition of different food products. They also got an opportunity to visit Kisumu city, ndunga beach, and discuss about fishing in Kenya with the fishermen, they danced to traditional luo dances. Having come from different parts of the world, most of the students didn’t know the primary material for sugar, so they were excited when they got to Muhoroni sugar factory, where they learnt about sugar cane growing, harvesting and processing.
Kenya is known for its beautiful wildlife and parks, so the students also got a break from their usual program to visit the Maasai mara national park before their return journey to Italy.