Uppsala Cooking Book Project



Debate article – cookbook

 

“Education is one of the most powerful instruments we have for bringing about the changes required to achieve sustainable development”. It is “a motor of change” and “will contribute to enabling citizens to face challenges of the present and the future and to make relevant decisions for a viable world.” Those sentences are to be read in the information text of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development2. However, the statements in this report are quite vague. The report neither answers the question how this education should look like in particular nor does it provide a concrete action plan.

So, what does education for sustainable development actually mean? It does certainly not mean to only provide people with information about the things that go wrong in the world. People, who watch the news know about climate change and that our consumption habits are the root cause of it. They also know about the inequalities between the North and the South and that our standard of living is based on the underdevelopment of Africa and South America. Thus in many cases there is no lack of knowledge. It is rather the question: What can an individual person do about all that? The easiest answer certainly is: Nothing at all! The problem is thereby not solved, put at least pushed aside.

If there is a huge pile of problems one doesn’t know where to start. This is why it is important to break down the big problems in smaller sections. Let’s take consumption as an example: “Because of the predicted doubling of global population, (...) humanity must reduce its consumption by 75 % by 2030 to become more sustainable”.4 Quite huge! How should an individual person tackle that challenge? So let’s break it down even further: What could people in Uppsala then do in order to contribute to achieve this goal? They could for example start with questioning their individual consumption habits. Now, consumption is quite an abstract term. Let’s maybe only focus on sustainable food consumption habits. This is where our project starts.

According to Prax5, “the transition to a sustainable future will require that the vast majority of people be persuaded to adopt different lifestyles.” In order to do so we want to present the general information we give in first part of the book in a “vivid, concrete and personalized” manner and want to tailor it “to the different segments of the community that one wish to reach”. Having wanted to know more about the attitudes of our target group (students and young families), we handed out a survey among this group. The result was, that people would like to know more about sustainable food in general and about where to get it in Uppsala in particular. The survey also revealed that people would buy sustainable food more often, if it was cheaper and better accessible.

Based on those answers we decided to explain the environmental, social and economical problems conventional agriculture causes and why sustainable agriculture is the better choice in our book. In order to not make it look like a textbook we decided to write it more like a conversation (questions - answers). We also plan to work with colours and drawings to make it more vivid. Since we as well provide information about specific farmers in Uppsala the information is as well personalized as it is mostly useful for people living in Uppsala. The ingredients for the recipes aren’t expensive and the recipes itself are easy to cook - perfect for students and young families who don’t own a fortune and don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen in everyday life.

We decided to include meat in some recipes although we are aware that meat is not considered to be sustainable food. We therefore explain how livestock production effects the climate and the health of animals and advice people to eat as less meat as possible: “If your message is too extreme, your audience will actually become less, rather than more, supportive after hearing your message. (...) You want to tailor your message so that it is slightly more extreme than the beliefs of your audience. (...) Over time it is possible to move people’s attitudes and beliefs a great deal.”

Creating a new cookbook with background information is a highly creative process. The cookbook itself is not a new idea though, but to tailor it to people in a certain city is quite a new approach. As Robinson1 puts it: “Individual creativity is almost always stimulated by the work, ideas and achievements of other people.”  For this creativity it is important to be free to experiment to get leaded by feelings, intuitions and imagination, but in the same way also by practical skills, knowledge and control. Creativity is a long process but in the end it should result in something that was worth all the time you put into it. This, we will see in the end of may.

 

The cooking book,’Eat,Buy and be Local’.

Believing in being part of cultivating change feels always good and which made me involved, too in taking part of this sustainable cook book project'Eat,Buy and be Local.Uppsala's Sustainable cookbook'. Also in the article ‘Pushing ‘reset’on Sustainable Development’ by Alan Atkisson (2009)  said ‘Professionals in the practice of sustainable development have a special ethical obligation to act as advocate for sustainable development’. As a student in the master program in sustainable development I am not only interested in reading and analyzing case studies but want to be part of some implementation process. Which is another reason to be involved in the project. Also Barbara Leigh Smith and Jean T. MacGreor in their article ‘ What is collaborative Learning’ said that ‘In some collaborative learning settings, the student’s task is to create a clearly delineated product; in others, the task is not to produce a product, but rather to participate in a process, an exercise of responding to each other’s work or engaging in analysis and meaning-making.’ No doubt this course helped me to make more involve in cooperation with team and teamwork.

 

The idea of creating a sustainable cooking book came from observation that people are not really eating sustainable food, at least not enough. Many of common citizen are not aware of  today ecological problems. Also lacking of where to find  local food markets, finding sustainable food producing farmers considered  really complicated to cook daily sustainable food. That's why in this book we want to show people that it could as easy to cook sustainable food as cooking the food they are used too. Indeed, people have habits about food that has been built on the wrong bases. They have been use to eat whatever they want, whenever they want no matter the season or the country they are living in. That's why they could feel limited because they may have the impression that they always have to eat the same food to have sustainable habits. That's another reason why we want to prove that sustainable food is not equal to tasteless food. The other problem is also the idea that people make about sustainable food like for example that's it's too much expensive. But what they don't know is that if they would buy their food locally then the price will be lower because there is less transportation and intermediates between the producer and the consumer. Also to encourage people to buy and  seasonal foods, fruits and vegetables from local market.

 

This project is directly related to sustainable development. Indeed, now we cannot deny that the hyperconsumption is one the biggest reason  that has lead us to the situation that we're in. Food consumption is part of this. We are now in the most unsustainable food system and it has become really hard to go against it because it is a habit for people and it's difficult to imagine another way for things to be. But we need to. That's why this cooking book could be a little step for people to realize that they need to change their way of consumption. If everyone would start at least trying to cook food that is more sustainable or even simply to cook by themselves, maybe this step could became the norm of a society. Because that's what happen most of the time, if everyone is in the norm then it's easier for people to get in because they don't want to be rejected, they are the followers and we need all the intermediate actors to made them follow the idea that eating sustainable food is the right thing to do. With this

cooking book we will try to act locally on this problem so that maybe the idea could be spread to other places. Not to mention to preserve the biodiversity and promote the use of sustainable organic agricultural practices.

From ‘Atkisson Alan 2011. Believing Cassandra. How to be an optimist in a pessimist’s world’ we come to know that ‘After a new idea is born-whether it is a new concept, a new technology, a new cultural practice or even an old idea that is just getting reintroduced-it spreads very slowly at first.’ (P-163). That’s why innovators need Change Agents. ‘Change agents’ are people who actively and effectively promote new ideas. (p-169). And our cooking book perfectly can act like change agent in this case. This book will make diffusion with different actors who are involve in this community like, local farmers, the supermarkets, the consumers and Uppsala community.

We would like to create a cookbook which  should support people in Uppsala to change their consumption habits towards sustainable food. Which will be a guide for the people living in Uppsala. Also help to educate the people about sustainable food and show them that it is not difficult to find sustainable food in Uppsala.We have thought to put recipe which are uniquely flavorful and authentically genuine from north and south part of the world. The recipes should be easy and fast to cook, the ingredients should be as cheap as possible and the food should be purchased preferably in and around Uppsala.

Mmmh! Good food in Uppsala…

The way food is produced has changed tremendously worldwide
within the last three centuries due to globalisation, industrialisation and an increase in
population. Fewer and fewer people grow their own food or work on their own farms -
industrialised production processes have taken over in the agricultural sector. With the
help of technological inventions food can be produced today cheaply, fast and in a high
quantity. Sounds quite positive actually, if there weren't such things as exploitation of labour, environmental pollution, animals kept in livestocks and land grabbing that are often related to the current agricultural system.

This is why our group  provides a cookbook which should guide students and young families towards sustainable food consumption in Uppsala. The book  shows that getting sustainable food in Uppsala is quite easy and needn't be expensive. And this is how we plan to do it: The first part of the book will explain what sustainable
food actually is and where one can get it in Uppsala (farmers and supermarkets like ICA and Coop), in the second part we will provide recipes with seasonal food (28 in total).

We've finished our research about food and farmers now and have already tried half of the recipes. In the next two weeks we will write the texts for the first part, try the other half of the recipes and discuss the layout.