On March 20th, the UofMosaic team at the University of Guelph, hosted a Cook and Learn Event, in partnership with our campus’ chapter of Universities Fighting World Hunger. The event was the final part of our 3-event series that has been focused on the issue of food security around the world, this time in Latin America.
The first part of the event was a cooking class run by chefs from Genesis Restaurant in Cambridge, Ontario. The student participants divided into groups and got to work making a variety of dishes from Latin America including rice and beans, chicken mole, fried plantain and grilled pineapple. As we cooked, the chefs went around teaching and giving us some more information about the foods and their countries of origin. After about an hour, the food was ready and everyone filled their plates and sat down to eat together.
As we ate, we had a presentation from a student who is working on their Masters in rural capacity development here at the University of Guelph. From Mexico originally, Manuel was able to give us some insight into his experiences and the issue of food security in general. One of the things that people don’t often consider when trying to address food insecurity is that food quality is important as well. It’s not enough for people to be able to afford the cheapest food, because that food is often unhealthy, and then leads to problems like childhood obesity. Obesity isn’t usually what comes to mind when we think about food insecurity, but food security is about more than not starving; it’s about being able to access healthy and needed nutrients as well. After his presentation, and as we finished eating, the discussion continued with everyone sharing some of their own thoughts and asking great questions.
Food insecurity is an issue that affects every region of the world. There are the headline-making, country-wide famines but there are also many members of our communities who struggle with it on a daily basis. Our three events this semester have allowed us to examine the way different populations are affected by it, but also all the amazing work that is being done here in Guelph and internationally to combat it. Events such as this one allow participants to engage physically in activities and learn from others who have dedicated time to understanding the complexities of this issue. This then promotes discussions on the spot and hopefully prompts participants to think further about the groups in their communities who may be dealing with food insecurity.