The new academic discipline of Gastronomic Sciences, entirely dedicated to food, represents a set of scientific and humanist knowledge that outlines a systemic approach to the subject of food. The University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo takes this approach as a starting point in the quest for a new definition of the concept of food quality, in which the social, environmental and economic impact of production, processing and distribution methods are seen as worthy of proper evaluation.
In order to explore these issues further, the Agroecology Lab was created on the university campus. It comprises four food gardens, designed to act as models of sustainability, with purposes that are simultaneously ecological (relating to biodiversity, soil fertility, water and air quality, renewable energy and animal welfare), economic (self-production of vegetables and herbs for the cafeteria and seeds of local varieties) and socio-cultural (education/learning, creation of a community, physical movement and consumption of organic, local, seasonal and fresh food).
The university gardens represent an ideal laboratory for the concrete application of the agroecological principles developed in the classroom and also studied on the study trips. Through this resource future gastronomes have a chance to experience and experiment with the marvelous complexity of the natural world, life cycles, the seasonality of the climate, the hard work demanded by the rural world, the sacredness and value of food and not least ecological and agronomical production techniques and the value of biodiversity, which will be the subject of research activities in the field. The main objective is to contribute to educating gastronomes who are conscious, informed and critical when it comes to different food production methods. They will develop the capacity for a more effective dialog with actors in the agricultural sector, and ultimately be able to manage sustainable food production autonomously, to develop a social or educational project connected to a food garden and to understand the quality of food production and the factors that influence it.
UNISG currently has the following ecological food gardens:
EDUCATIONAL AND EXPERIMENTAL FOOD GARDEN IN POLLENZO
The UNISG food garden located in the Agenzia di Pollenzo park is used for research activities (for example, varietal comparisons and comparisons of methods for managing soil fertility, weeds, damage and disease) and teaching activities, in particular for the students in the three-year undergraduate program who take the Ecological Horticulture courses.
The garden’s produce is made available to the local Pollenzo community via the Academic Tables and a weekly market.
Alieksei Taran, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 6pm
GASTRONOMIC GARDEN IN POLLENZO
Located in the courtyard of the Academic Tables in Pollenzo, this garden is designed to offer an experience for all five senses. Plants (aromatic and medicinal herbs, flowers and vegetables) are grown here for the use of the chefs.
The garden furniture was designed as part of a project with students in order to give the cafeteria’s users an all-round gastronomic experience.
POLLENZO’S ORTO IN CONDOTTA
This garden, in the Agenzia di Pollenzo park, is for the use of the Pollenzo nursery and primary schools. Here they can hold environmental and food education activities, organized in collaboration with Slow Food and the City of Bra.
GASTRONOMIC SOCIETY FOOD GARDEN IN BRA
The garden, on the terraces of the Gastronomic Society in Bra is cultivated with vegetables, vines and fruit trees for recreational and cultural purposes. The society’s horticulture group is currently aimed primarily at Master and postgraduate degree students who want to put sustainable agricultural techniques into practice in order to observe, learn, research, experiment and produce.
The group’s philosophy is based on the proportional distribution of work and the sharing of food through communal dinners and events, creating a cultural activity that fosters a more sustainable lifestyle.
Prof. Paola Migliorini, project scientific director – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dott. Agr. Stefano Pescarmona, project technical director and “Sustainable Agriculture and Ecological Horticulture” course lecturer – email@example.com