Archive for February, 2011
15 young students from University of Gastronomic Sciences (Unisg) learnt about Kenyan Food Culture and Heritage during their Study Trip (6th-16th February).
Unisg which is supported by International Slow Food association was created in 2004 to create an insight on gastronomy and professionals who can join the act of eating with that of production, without crossing any intermediate stages.
Supported by the regional governments of Piedmont and Emilia- Romagna, the University of Gastronomic Sciences is based in Pollenzo. It is a private institution recognized by the Italian state.
The university has students from Japan, Africa, Europe, Latin America and countries like Venezuela and Colombia.
At this university students do not learn to cook, but they engage in visiting producers involved in
production processes, culture and have extensive knowledge of the territories. It is important that students know in particular; cuisine, history, culture and biography of a country.
The aim is to create ambassadors of good food; this is achieved by trying to relate and to strengthen relations with chefs, growers and consumers.
On this trip students had a ten-day visit, where they learnt about the country through various visits and meetings with local food communities, schools as well as participating in a series of lessons, including on such subjects as; Kenya’s fishing industry, tea production and commercialization, sugar refining, the coffee industry, school gardens and Small- scale farming organized by Network for Ecofarming in Africa( Necofa), Sustainable Mobilization of Agricultural Resources Technologies (Smart Initiative) and Youth Action for Rural Development (Yard).
In addition, the trip included visits to the Slow Food presidia Projects; Nzoia River Reed Salt, Mushunu chicken and Pokot Ash Yoghurt, where they had an opportunity to interact with different food communities, dance to traditional rhythms and share meals.
Presidia projects are sustainable food production initiatives which build the capacity of a group of producers in order to improve production techniques, develop production protocols and find local and international markets. Each Presidium supports a quality product at risk of extinction; uses traditional processing and/or agricultural methods; and safeguards native breeds and local plant varieties. The Presidia projects were created in 2009 following a research study on traditional foods in Molo and Western areas carried out by Kenyan Graduate students from the University of Gastronomic Sciences and spearheaded by Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, Italy.
Students had an opportunity to visit the historic city of Kapenguria, travel through and watch the destruction of the Mau escarpment, visit a coffee-hulling plant, mix wildlife and study by visiting the Maasai Mara Park, visit to a tea plantation and they also met with Karunga women group who utilize wool from sheep to make different products like dolls, carpets among others.
A great visit it was ” I did’n’t know I could learn so much about a people’s culture and their lifestyle in 10 days, I loved the interaction with food communities,eating together and having a dance with the pokot women” Eloise Vincent one of the students from Canada.
The leaves of this splendid plant are 30 times sweeter than sugar; with zero calories where as pure extract is 300 times sweeter than sugar. This sweet-honey-leaf herb is likely to become the major source of high potency sweetener for the growing natural food market, in the years to come.
Stevia finds its use as a natural sweetener, replacing the chemical sweeteners and even table sugar; the sweetness in leaf is due to the presence of an intensive-sweetening agent called stevioside and the leaf by itself is about 20 to 30 times sweeter than sugar. The leaf has stevioside of 10-12% on dry weight basis.
For more information on seedlings availability and stevia manual contact Jane :0715639223
As we seek to balance life and work, we often think of our next vacation as one of the ways of restoring balance in our lives.
Terra Madre Safaris through Necofa hosted 6 American visitors; who included their partners (FKSW) and their friends from the 7th -29th January,2011 . The friends of FKSW were interested in learning about the different activities of the 2 organizations in Kenya, learning about the kenyan people and their culture. This was achieved through visits to successful community projects, school projects, and local food communities where they shared meals with the local people, as they exchanged information and shared ideas of the two different worlds they live in. These exchanges help the local people in appreciating themselves, priding in their culture and heritage, and holding their heads high with dignity.
Asked of their experience in Kenya, Karen had this to say;
“Sometimes we take a big trip, far away from where we live and what we do. These journeys abroad can provide rich learning, not only about the people we meet and the places we visit, but also about ourselves. Such trips are as much an adventure (looking outward), as an inventure (looking inward). Travel provides us with an opportunity to be students of our experiences, reinvent ourselves, and rewrite our personal narratives. ”