Preserving stories, preserving food:
Intergenerational and multicultural pedagogies for food waste reduction from Pakistan, China and Canada
Keywords:food waste, storytelling, food preservation, transformative pedagogy, intergenerational learning, spirituality
Worldviews, cultures, spirituality, and history not only influence how societies define “food” and “waste”, they also shape how we consume food and the relationship we have with the broader food system. While food waste has emerged as a global concern and a complex “wicked problem” that impacts stakeholders at all scales of operations, the issue is often framed as an environmental and economic problem, and less so as a social problem. As the food waste literature expands at a rapid pace, there is still a dearth of studies that focus on cultural and intergenerational approaches to food preservation and food waste reduction. This exploratory study emerged from an upper-year research-based course entitled Building Sustainable Food Systems (REM 363- now REM 357) at Simon Fraser University and offers three vignettes through intergenerational and multicultural interviews from Siksika First Nation (Canada), Pakistan and China. Students from the class explored the roles of intergenerational storytelling and informal learning by conducting key informant interviews with close relatives to document traditional food preservation techniques. This study created a transformative intergenerational and multicultural bonding opportunity, which allowed students to better understand their relationships to food, culture, and their relatives. The students also documented how the relationship to food has changed over time. Findings from the study suggest that intergenerational storytelling can help reduce food waste by increasing food literacy, improving cultural connections, and raising awareness about alternative worldviews that challenge the commoditization of food.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Tammara Soma, Jayda Wilson, Molly Mackay, Yuting Cao
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