Gastronomy is the art of choosing, cooking and eating good food. But what is EcoGastronomy?
This is a relatively new concept and it pertains to the consumption of food in an eco-friendly manner. This is debatable since it raises food-related issues like instant vis-à-vis delayed gratification, need vis-à-vis luxury, body vis-à-vis mind, etc.
We cannot view food simply by what is put on our plate – it begins with agriculture. Today, the very soil on which food is grown has deteriorated and become polluted due to an overuse of pesticides and fertilizers causing concerns about the safety of food. Besides, food production has an impact on the environment in other ways. Agriculture is one of the larger sources of CO2 emissions, especially when you consider the distances that food is transported – not just from the farmer to the processed food manufacturer but further on to the retail chains within the area and to international shores too. People no longer view food as something to be consumed but as a lifestyle statement. This is amply demonstrated in the profusion of cookery channels, blogs, videos on the net, etc. as also the plethora of international foods that are sold at supermarkets today. In fact, food plays an important part in tourism too.
This is where EcoGastronomy comes into play and acts as a whistle-blower so that people become more aware and conscious about the food they consume. EcoGastronomy lays emphasis on human consumption of food and its consequences. It seeks to put healthier and sustainable food on the table that will have a lesser impact on the environment in both production and consumption aspects. It concedes that the impact of food produced and consumed maybe later than immediate and perhaps in a place far away from us. EcoGastronomy also acknowledges that food production begins with material elements and moves to communication and interactive activity. Such interaction is bound to leave environmental and social impressions.
So EcoGastronomy embraces everything related to food. It showcases the relation between food and humans and human accountability towards health and food production as farmers/agriculturists, cooks, artists, activists, politicians, and industrialists. Does all this sound interesting to you? Do you want to grow food, learn to cook it and eat healthily? Do you want to learn about the complex and holistic nature of your food community? And would you like to pursue eco-gastronomy as a career option?
A career in EcoGastronomy can be a challenging and yet satisfying one. After graduating, depending on the primary major, an eco-gastronomy graduate can:
- Manage a farm or nursery
- Work in the catering or restaurant industry
- Teach in the food-related programs
- Pursue food journalism
- Wholesale and retail marketing
Graduates will also be equipped to assist governments and businesses in developing eco-friendly food practices.
The EcoGastronomy undergraduate and major program offered by the University of New Hampshire, USA, is the first of its kind. The program includes a study of sustainable agriculture, hospitality management, and nutrition. The three principles of the program are interdisciplinary, international and experiential knowledge. While a wide range of scholarships is available, applicants must apply only for those scholarships that they are eligible for.