Project C2S2 Conscious Caterers Sustainable Systems- SWEDEN 2018
I am Megha Naidu, a student of Year 3 at the International Institute of Hotel Management, Bangalore. In the month of April 2018’ I was chosen as a representative of Bangalore campus and India for a project called C2S2, Conscious Caterers Sustainable Systems which was an initiative by the Erasmus+ Strategic partnership program. I was accompanied by two other fellow students from Delhi and Kolkata Campus as well. The project’s objective was to create awareness about Global sustainability and best practices in a logic of sustainable development in the sectors of Hospitality industry. This was an exchange program between four countries- France, Sweden, Turkey and India, who participated in this together to promote C2S2.
To be a representative of India for its first round table conference in Sweden, it was a proud moment for me and my college. It was a one of a kind experience as all students from their respective countries discussed about the different practices they followed in their particular countries and colleges. The different ways and ideas of promoting sustainability and management of waste, which has become a serious issue in today’s world, was highlighted and accepted by all. Most importantly, it was a cultural exchange program, where the students even got to interact and learn about each other, which was yet another great learning experience that was provided to us. It was a 10 days journey for us Starting from the 20th April 2018 to the 29th April 2018 at different locations of Sweden. We were hosted by the students of Virginska Gymnasiet School. To start with, during our stay at Sweden, we got a chance to know about the various steps the citizens of Sweden took in order to reduce pollution and wastage. We learnt how they rode cycles to work instead of using motor vehicles and cars, to reduce usage of fuel ,which is a rare resource, also reduce harmful smoke and emissions and not to forget the unnecessary traffic problems. This helps them to contribute to a much cleaner and greener environment and also makes them stay healthy and fit. Due to this reason, all the students and their mentors also chose to switch to riding cycles in their entire trip, which was rather a fun experience too!
We kick started our journey with a fun filled bike ride to Nature Reserve Oset (lake Hjalmaren) which was in the centre of the city of Orebro. All the student did outdoor cooking together and we had student driven activities by the lakeside to know more about Sweden. On our way we visited a Museum called Wadkoping. We learnt a lot about Orebro and its history and culture in the Museum. In the evening we had a special dinner at the Virginska School Restaurant, cooked by the Student who Participated in Young Chef Olympiad 2017.
The next day we went on a tour around the school’s hotel and tourism department and had an official introduction with the C2S2 participants. We were served their traditional Swedish “Fika” followed by a detailed discussion on the project. We then had our C2S2 project presentation in the presence of the entire students and local politicians and authority generals. Each country presented their view points and ideas on global sustainability. We had the Environmental Strategic planner Sara Andersson from Orebro Council who presented Orebro’s visions. We also had the Head Chef of Fredrik Of Virginska school to present the Philosophy of Canteen at Virginska School.
Some highlights of our projects revolved around the various concepts and methods of waste management and awareness on sustainability in order to save resources for our generations to come. We learnt about the various practices followed by the students in Sweden, like reusing of ingredients in the kitchen, selling excess food at cheap rates to the poor, collecting unwanted vegetables from super markets and utilising them in their dishes to reduce wastage and also using bio degradable bags to discard waste in order to avoid plastic. Not only the students of that school, but even other people in the locality have been practicing the same and it has really caused a difference in their society. Team turkey from Canik Halk Egitimi Merkezi/CAHEM University also shared their views on sustainability. They showed us several different ways of food waste management which they followed in their college. They shared with us ways of utilising the left over food and they also made a book on that which was circulated among all of us. The book illustrated several different ways of left over food utilisation which we can use in our day-to-day life. Team France from the Lycee Albert De Mun Paris University, gave us brief insights on the different projects they have been working upon regarding saving water, electricity, and how to reuse recycle waste and how it is followed in their country and college. They showed us the importance of food and how it gets wasted every year. They too portrayed methods of sustainability in their own small ways. We, representing team India from the International Institute of Hotel Management discussed in great detail about the projects we initiated in our respective campuses. Kolkata campus presented and explained in depth about the new Hydroponics that has been installed in our campus. On the other hand I got the opportunity to talk about my own project of waste management, process of segregation of wet and dry waste and Composting using wet food waste. I had prepared a short video showcasing the process of composting wherein first the wet waste is collected from our kitchen, it is then taken to the composting pit, it is mixed with a substance called Cocopeat which helps to convert the entire wet bio degradable waste in compost and manure. This compost then can be used to grow plants and at farms on a large scale as they are rich sources of minerals and helps in healthy growth of plants and trees. The entire presentation was very informative and we all had some great learnings to take back to our respective countries. The next day We visited the Orebro University where we had an interesting Lecture by the Food Ecology Program. They discussed about the importance of vegetarian food and how important it is to use more vegetables in our diet over meat. This was where team India put up various points on vegetarian cooking as the major diet of Indians are vegetarian food. We also discussed about the importance of Millets in this discussion and all the health benefits one can obtain from growing and consuming millets. It was a great interactive session and all the countries shared their view points as well. This was followed by a friendly baking session with the bakery department. In the evening all the country’s participants gathered together to cook the dishes from their own countries. It was an amazing experience as we all cooked together and we got to taste the various dishes from each country.
We then packed our bags and headed to the Capital city of Stockholm. During the trip we stopped by at an eco farm owned by a farmer named Adam Arnesson outside Orebro. Adam is the Founder of Ekobonden which is public relations and communications agency that works to spread sustainable and ecological opinion. We learnt that Ekobonden has broad network within the agricultural industry, the organic sector, and innovative food companies. We had a tour around the farms and learnt a lot about organic farming. Following this we went to a village called Kumla. This place is known for its eco-bakery that bakes with the flour from ‘”jannelund”. We had delicious lunch at the bakery that was cooked with the produce from the farm which was prepared by Chef Niklas Edgren who was also the mentor of the participants of Young Chef Olympiad representing Sweden.
At Stockholm we had a guided tour around the city and we also got a chance to see the changing of guards at the Stockholm castle. We visited a Restaurant called Fotografiska Museum. Fotografiska is one of the world’s largest centre for contemporary photography located in the heart of the city. It was truly a wonderful experience visiting these iconic places.
This was my first ever trip to a foreign country, and it was absolutely an amazing experience overall. My college gave me this wonderful opportunity for which I’m forever thankful. I’m so proud of being a student of IIHM because among several colleges our college was the only one selected to represent India on an international level. The amount of learning and memories I carried back to India cannot be explained in words, and this experience will always be one of the best I’ve ever had in my life. I am and will always be a proud IIHMite, because this is the one and we dare to do!