Sustainability Action Blog


Food For Thought

By Imogen Dinham-Price |

Dülmen, Kirchspiel, Erdbeerfeld

As I move into the fifth week of my internship, I have truly begun to see how sustainability can really implement itself across whole faculties!

One of my tasks has been to engage with the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) practice and to start implementing it throughout the curriculum here at the University of Southampton. ESD is about developing people’s skills, knowledge and values so that they can be part of making a more sustainable future. I have also learnt that it is not just me who feels sustainability is important; it turns out 80% of students around UK think their university experience should include sustainability.

Sometimes it can be easily apparent if a module within your course contains sustainable elements, simply by the title, for example ‘Sustainable Resource Management’ (an Engineering module) or the Curriculum Incentive Module; ‘Sustainability in the Local and Global Environment’. However sometimes over using the word sustainability can become dull and off putting for some. Yet, after our own Southampton students took part in the student-led consultation afternoon, it was uncovered that 76% still want to know if their module or course complies with sustainable elements. It would therefore be ideal if the course met the sustainability criteria, but it would just become…normalised. How does that sound? To be learning about sustainability within the context of your course without realising, so that you are automatically thinking in a sustainable mind-set. Something that employers truly value today.

So for my remaining weeks, I am learning about every course offered at the university all with the incentive of making your learning as normal as possible by slipping in the sustainability criteria. But do not be fooled, this is not my only task! I feel as though I am doing something new each and every day because with the uniqueness of this internship, ideas never stop pouring in. Especially when it gets to lunchtime and the topic of ‘food’ becomes rife…

Food is always a conversation starter. It is the human fuel; a tempting treat; it is simple and it can be complex. It can be a mood changer; something that makes you perform better or do worse. Most importantly it links into the core of sustainability, as food brings together many sustainable factors. Not just the obvious ‘carbon footprint’, but in fact our own well-being. With food, we come together securing communal ties, sharing our beliefs and (sometimes) magnificent creations. Altogether food can affect and aid our performance, support, emotions and our health. This is just a ‘taster’ of what project number two will be looking into…the factors that make good food, truly good! Now if that isn’t food for thought, I don’t what is.