A Taste of Home

Global

A Taste of Home

How intergenerational practices of food and culture preservation reduces food waste.

School:

SFU

Department:

Faculty of Environment

Course:

REM 363

Instructors:

  • Tammara Soma

City of Vancouver:

  • Erin Nichols

Student Team:

  • Jayda Wilson
  • Molly Mackay
  • Veela Cao

Strategy:

  • Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP)

City goal area:

  • Zero Waste

Term:

Fall Semester 2019

Summary

Our project documented food preparation techniques across three different cultures and their connection to oral/origin stories.The gap our project is trying to fill is  the issue of food waste, and how it correlates to various cultural practices across a wide range of geographies. The advantages of intergenerational storytelling and place-based, experiential learning has the ability to re-connect people, place, and food through tacit knowledge of traditional food systems and sustainable food practices. 

Our project addresses the limitations imposed by current societal institutions and structures that inhibit connections to food and people, including: spatial and mental distancing from the geographies of food chains, socio-economic inequity, time scarcity, food competency, value action gaps, and how to address food apartheid. Our team conducted three semi-structured interviews with selected family members who we have personal connections to. These family members were able to identify food preparation techniques in three different cultures, as well as the oral/origin stories associated with these food practices. We addressed these topics by asking our identified elders questions in which their responses could continue to garner more questions. We learned that in order to reconnect with a sense of responsibility to our food we must actively seek to reconnect to our communities, our cultures, and our environments. Our team coded four key findings within our responses that consistently played a part in food and survival: (i) agriculture, (ii) cautionary tales, (iii) climate change, and (iv) religion/spirituality.

A Taste of Home

Next Steps

As a collective, we found that the most implementable steps we can take to bridge the gap between people and food is to support cross-cultural food waste workshops with various elders and community members in the greater Vancouver Education system. These workshops, in which stories, recipes, and outlooks are distilled would function to show youth the importance of honouring both the food they put in their body, and the historical origin of the food they see today. There is a need for funding for ‘culture camps’ that implement place-based learning such tanning hides, drying meat, or canning salmon, vegetables or bone broths etc., as well as sharing stories. This would all have the capacity to contribute to food competency, and in turn, reduce food waste and increase sustainable food systems.