After completing my Language Immersion in France, I headed to Switzerland to attend the World Food Systems Summer School. It is organized by World Food Systems Center at ETH Zürich. This year’s theme was “Organic Agriculture and Food Systems.”
As an IPED student specializing in Global Environmental and Resource Economics, I purposely searched for a summer program that would help me gain a more holistic understanding of and interdisciplinary knowledge on the food system to supplement my academic research. Through the IPED Summer grant and the GSAS Professional Development Grant (PDG), I was able to take part in this unique opportunity to learn more about food systems.
The course ran from August 7 to 21, 2016 at Rheinau, Switzerland. Leading researchers and practitioners from agricultural production, food processing, health and nutrition, political economy, came to speak to us about their field. Aside from lectures, we also had plenty of group activities to further discuss the topics. The speakers were certainly very open to discussions with us students during breaks and even after the sessions.
We did not spend the two weeks just inside the lecture halls. We also had farm tours, alpine excursions, and site visits. We got our hands dirty with our soil analysis activity and organic farming exposure. The field trips were definitely my favorite!
We stayed at a wonderful guesthouse in Rheinau. Our hosts served us the freshest and healthiest meals every day, as well as weekend barbecues at the garden! Coming from different backgrounds and culture, we spent many of our nights (and days) getting to know each other. We learned a lot from each other and made new friends and professional contacts.
Attending the summer school with amazing people who shared the same passion for food and for helping make the world a better place was truly a memorable and informative experience.