Close followers might have seen that Food in the Streets shared her ideas with a group of American students. A new experience and an educational moment for myself too.
The interesting thing of being ‘an outsider’ (in this case someone who observes while not being part) is that some things become more clear. You get a new perspective, another point of reference and you start to ask questions. For me it happened with the Dutch urban farming projects.
While Milan is preparing itself for the worldwide event Expo2015, the city and its inhabitants are also thinking about what they could do in their own backyards. Literally, as they start thinking about growing food close to their homes. An interesting phenomenon for a city where design and fashion have been the key words for years. Food in the Streets hopes to be able to contribute to this 'revolution'.
The students I lectured for only live in this town for three months. They take classes on different subjects, some more appreciated than others. One of the classes they could choose to follow is on social innovation a very popular term. In this class, a group of students is going to realise a window farm, thereby starting from already realized open source designs. As window farming is one possible form of urban farming, the teachers asked me to introduce the phenomenon to them and inspire them with some of the projects I know of.
It seems easy to prepare a presentation about a subject you work on every day. It was no problem to find interesting examples, I had a whole lot of pictures on my pc and -where needed - websites gave me the latest information on the projects I showed. But to explain something that is so normal to you to people who maybe never heard of it, is another thing. But definitely not less interesting.
In about half an hour I explained how I came to the subject of urban farming, why it interests me and why I think more people should practice it. Eight interesting Dutch examples came by, going from herbs on private balconies to the biggest urban farming roof in Europe. And in the end the discussion about the economic future of a phenomenon that only a few years ago was only practised by a minority of people.
For me the discussion was very interesting. Students and invited people asked me some interesting questions on topics which I had taken for granted for a while now. But that is only because I’m into it so deep, that sometimes I forget that for others it isn't that clear at all. So to everyone present, I want to say ‘thank you’. My one-hour-of-teaching was as educational for me as it hopefully was for you!
For those who are interested to contact invite Food in the Streets as a lecturer, please contact me via the address you can find here.