CEU Digs Into Sustainable Food Issues in Hungary for World Food Day 2013

October 18, 2013

CEU hosted a series of events in honor of World Food Day 2013. “Healthy People Depend on Healthy Food Systems” was chosen as this year’s theme, and the CEU Sustainable Campus Initiative and the Human Rights Initiative cooperated to introduce the environmental, social, and economic realities of food systems to the CEU community.

The week began with a volunteering trip to the Babat Organic Study farm in Godollo, Hungary. The farm serves as the organic study farm for Szent Istvan University students. A group of 25 CEU students and local residents traveled together to the farm to learn about organic farming techniques and also to help with the autumn parsnip root harvest. The team was able to harvest over 600 kilograms of parsnip in one afternoon. Afterwards the group was offered a delicious lunch cooked with ingredients harvested directly from the ground in Babat.

During the week a food drive was held at the University. Donations were accepted on behalf of “Food Not Bombs” Budapest, a local volunteer group which collects food ingredients which are used to cook free meals for underprivileged residents. An interactive information zone was set up in the Octagon area of CEU’s campus, where community members were invited to ask questions about equitable food systems and were also able to have their dietary habits ranked on a nutritional and environmental scale using a computer database. This area was managed by Human RightS Initiative volunteers in cooperation with CEU students. The information zone also featured graphic design posters that were part the “Chew it Well” poster series which focused on sustainable food production and the slow food movement in Hungary. The posters were donated by Kulturgorilla, a design advocacy group in Budapest.

A panel discussion “Defining Healthy Food Systems in Hungary, and their Reach Beyond” was the headline event of the week. The panel was comprised of local growers, food activists, and food researchers from Szent Istvan Univesity and the OMKi Organic Agriculture Research Institute of Hungary. Panelists recounted the challenges and opportunities faced in the developing local food systems in Hungary and explained the realities of organic and sustainable production, and the attempt to make more conscious food systems a reality.

World Food Day was also supported by the FAO regional office located in Budapest.

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