Tackling World Challenges, with Fridge Diving and Guerilla Cooking

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The beginning of the spring semester at USI is the time when a number of Master’s field projects kick-off. Among these, the one proposed as part of the World Challenges Program directed by Michael Gibbert , Professor of Marketing at the Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society. This year’s field project will be carried out by a composite group of 12 students from USI and the Stockholm School of Economics, and will focus on food waste in households. The project includes both a survey-based data analysis part (Fridge Diving) and an experiential phase (Guerilla Cooking).

Fridge Diving: analysing and understanding food waste

Dumpster Diving is the act of "diving" into dumpsters from commercial, residential, industrial, construction and other waste containers and salvaging items which their owners threw out, but which may still be useful. Dumpster Divers typically look for clothing, furniture, and similar stuff - even food.

The concept of Fridge Diving is an adaptation of this act, bringing the basic ideas and approaches into the context of food waste in households. It is a method to measure potentially reusable food in the refrigerator - but also in the pantry - and in general, to "assess" what it contains.

Guerilla Cooking: practice the art of fine food whenever (and wherever) you can

Guerilla Gardening is the act of using land for gardening which currently isn’t (such as public spaces, abandoned agricultural and industrial parcels, as well as your neighbor’s garden). Guerilla Gardeners are driven by many motives, including provoking a rekindling of self-sufficiency, as described in John Seymor’s 1971 book ’Fat of the Land’, which aims at promoting the reconsideration of land ownership and the desire to assign a new purpose (growing food crops) to land that has been neglected or misused.

Guerilla Cooking is based on the same principle, i.e. the reuse of abandoned spaces of others, and it does so by looking at a basic component of the food value chain, i.e. cooking, in this case that of university students, who are in some ways ’vulnerable’ because of certain constraints - the lack of time to cook, on the one hand, and the lack of money to procure high quality ingredients, on the other. These constraints often lead to students eating unhealthily, which can affect their academic performance suffers. The objective of the experiential phase of this field project is to seize the coming of age phase in a young person’s life to help develop long-lasting eating practices, customs and habits - including, among other things, greater awareness of food waste, healthy eating (e.g. less fat), and social responsibility and environmental sustainability in the choices made (e.g. meat consumption and carbon footprint).