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

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

In a few weeks, our UNH-in-Italy students will be visiting the World's Fair in Milan, Italy.  After having interned at the fair for three months, Alexander Harling gave students an orientation on "seeing the world through the fair".  While 120 countries are represented, the perspectives on feeding the world is infinite or at least as many as the 20 million people from around the world expected to visit through October 30th.

Students marveled as Alexander explained that the fair brings together the "whole world and all its food scape variations".  Is the fair for gawking and staring at all the food and ideas represented?  Absolutely not!  It is for interacting with your fellow human beings while enjoying one of life's greatest treasures with them.  It's also about feeding our planet together, which is where EcoGastronomy students love to delve.

This is what Alexander recommends to get the most out of your experience.

LOOK ONLINE  to begin.  Check out the map.  It's huge!  Find out what's happening the days you visit.  Each country's pavilion has a schedule, so you definitely want to ask around to see if there's anything you shouldn't miss. You can subscribe to the USA pavilion's schedule here.  Every day there's events from Cirque du Soleil to Famous Chef Demonstrations.

TALK WITH EVEYONE Take your time.  Ask for samples!

ORGANIZE your day but be flexible.   Start at the "back of the fair".  When you go in through the main gate by the trains, walk all the way down Main St. (Decumano).  Think Disney.  That way it's less crowded.

MAKE SURE YOU VISIT Japan, South Korea, Qatar (All the Middle Eastern Pavilions are over the top) and, of course, USA!  USA has a rooftop terrace and café with a stunning view of the Milan Expo grounds where you can get a good feel for the fair layout.

LOOK FOR FAMOUS PEOPLE Ha, ha! You never know if you'll see Beyonce.  

STAY LATE  7 PM there's lots of parties and 8:30 PM the restaurants open.  Ask volunteers and staff what's going on.

FRIEND Alexander Harling on Facebook and message him any questions.  He can also introduce you the the USA interns there.

If you want to stay longer than the EcoG trip, Alexander recommends looking NOW for a place to say.  Try airbnb,  make sure you read reviews.
 Awww!!! I'm so excited for you!  Have a great time!