My Trip to Italy: An Insight on the Future of Food
By: Olivia Porrill
Next, we visited an organic lemon grove. This lemon grove produced more than just lemons, however, they also produced oranges, olive oil, and honey. And all of it tasted absolutely divine! None of it tasted like what I was used to it tasting like! It was truly an experience that changed my life. When I asked one of the farmers why they taste this way, he told me it was because their farm refused to put any pesticides onto their plants, and instead use entirely organic methods of farming. When I asked him why they did this, since the alternative was obviously much easier, he simply said that it is because it is healthier for the consumer, and that is the top priority of their farm. He then invited me to eat full slices of lemons - peel and all! I was hesitant at first, but after I did, I immediately went in for another. The lemons were so fresh! And the peels were not bitter and waxy to eat! It really shows you what a little extra care for a crop can change.
We then later went to a three-day summit where we delved into the problems of food even deeper. We discussed how food affects the environment, culture, technology, health and wellness, and the economy. We then all split into teams and all came up with new innovative ideas to address these problems. It was overall an incredible experience where I learned a lot and changed many perspectives that I had about food. We also had the honor of meeting and listening to three amazing guest speakers - Stephen Ritz, Raj Patel, and Anthony Bourdain. All who had very different and interesting approaches to food. Stephen Ritz, who is a school teacher from the Bronx, noticed how unhealthy his students were becoming. He realized that the environment, and the food options, that his students were growing up with were unacceptable. He decided to take matters into his own hands and created a school garden that the students would help take care of, urging students to make better food choices by eating what they grow, instead of relying on processed "foods". The results were incredible, more and more students started attending school, and more and more kids were getting healthier instead of becoming sicker. But Mr. Ritz didn't stop there, he then continued making more and more gardens to install in the rest of the community, making The Bronx look greener, and directly affecting the community's morale. Just by using the power of plants, Mr. Ritz was able to turn a school that hardly had an attendance, into a community with a goal of making the world greener.
This was truly an experience and an opportunity that I will never forget! The knowledge and realizations that I have gained through this immersive trip are some of the most valuable tools that I will have on changing my community back at home. I cannot wait to bring the people of Birmingham this amazing insight! Si se puede!
Stephen Ritz's TedTalk
Raj Patel's TedMed Talk
More Information on Anthony Bourdain