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S Meal Cycle

Meal Cycle

Chair: Parto Teherani-Krönner

Contributions: Karl Bruckmeier and Iva Pires, Meike Brückner, Tung Hoa Dang and Cam Tu Lan 

Meal Cycle in Teaching and Learning Cultural Ecology

This session aims to focus on the entire process of the creation and transformation of agricultural products from a cultural-ecological perspective. The meal cycle includes agricultural products that are processed into foods, all the way to our meals, and finally the waste and left over that need to be disposed of. The process will point to the need for a paradigm shift in the agri-environmental policy debate. There was hope in Germany and the EU that after decades of conflict, a social contract between environmental organizations and agriculture would be negotiated for the first time. However, this is likely to have faltered as a result of the latest developments due to the Ukraine conflict.
Important for a reorientation in our food and meal culture are our eating behavior and our habits with the social-communicative dimensions and thus our "Eating Relations." The questions of consumption behavior include meat consumption, and intensive versus extensive animal husbandry. On the other hand, the biodiversity, which can be found in the field but also in our meals are important dimensions to grasp the food security and safety debate.
The goal is to develop recommendations on research and change agents that shape the future of human ecology of our Meal Cycle in higher education.  Political and economic levels, as well as the social-communicative area of our daily nutrition will be addressed with regard to the educational system and higher education. Parto Teherani-Krönner



Meal Cycle - Organized Section Part 1 & discussion


Presentation by Meike Brückner: "Feminist Approach to Food Sovereignty - Empirical findings in Kenya"


  Food sovereignty is an umbrella term which describes that control and voice in decision-making should be given to those who are producing and consuming food. Despite its emancipatory potential, feminist scholars criticize the romanticization of small-scale and family farming in the food sovereignty discourse and movement because this kind of agricultural existence often rests on reproductive work. Another point of critique is that it is mainly focused on the production side. It fails to recognize care work and to give relevance to the entire value chain.
In this presentation I argue, that a focus upon meals allows a holistic understanding of food sovereignty. Informed by an empirical study in Kenya, food sovereignty is approached through the production and consumption of African Indigenous Vegetables. I demonstrate examples of practices towards meal sovereignty, including the participating in collective cooking, the building of alternative channels of food provisioning or the rejection of exotic vegetables to support a local food system.
I present the new framework of ‘Meal Sovereignty’ that explores the lived experience and the agency of those who produce, cook and eat it. It is attentive towards factors that are often not in the center: the historical embeddedness and the social relations and emotions that people build around food. Meal sovereignty sheds light on the role of gendered food knowledge and work and thus offers a new perspective to the food sovereignty debate.

Meal Cycle - Organized Section Part 2 & discussion


Presentation by Tung Hoa Dang and Cam Tu Lan : "Human ecology in culinary culture of Thai people in Northwest -Vietnam"


  Thai dishes in Northwest Vietnam are very diverse and healthy, most of the spices are taken from nature symbolizing heaven and earth (from the forest, home garden and self-cultivation). The dishes are prepared very elaborately and sophisticatedly, requiring the passion and ingenuity of the chef. The species of spices and plants used can include more than 30 species for daily dishes, dishes on special occasions such as Tet or holidays, there can be more than 50 different types of vegetables and spices. The chefs are usually women. Men assist when it comes to meat and grilled dishes. While the trend in big cities, young people prefer fast food, in the mountainous areas still keep traditional dishes, slow cooking with rich nutrients and associated with nature, especially for food. Tourists who have the opportunity to go to the Northwest region are very interested in the culture of the Thai community, especially with culinary dishes.
The following questions are to be discussed:
•    How can the young generation address and implement their proposals for healthy and environmentally sound Meal Cycles?
•    How can meal culture help to shape future developments, and safeguarding biodiversity?  
Meal Cycle
 - Organized Section Part 3 & discussion
Presentation by Karl Bruckmeier and Iva Pires: "Food Waste as Topic of Higher Education in European Countries"


  Food waste literacy and education for food waste reduction are necessary components of the sustainability transformation of food systems, which requires, furthermore, new forms of food production, processing, distribution and consumption. We review the recent research and activities of the European Union to reduce food waste, showing: food waste prevention is weakly integrated in the food supply chain, weakly integrated in sustainability governance, and insufficiently supported by activities of capacity building, agency and education. We focus on education and consumers, because private households generate the largest part of food waste, efficient interventions to reduce food waste are difficult, and the creation of food waste literacy and transformative capacity is urgent. Governance of food waste becomes a main issue at local and municipal level, with cities as key actors. At this geographical level the complexity is manageable and educational and other efforts to achieve solutions can be organised in cooperation of political and civil society actors. Successful food waste prevention depends on many activities that need to be integrated and carried out continuously, including education and capacity building of all actors in the food chain (formal and informal education). Higher Education Institutions are committed to the Sustainable Development Goals  and can contribute with education and capacity building for their students and the general public.