FUTURE FOOD
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FUTURE FOOD

Education: the first ingredient to disseminate collective regeneration

Non-discrimination, justice, inclusion, respect, appreciation of diversity, collective prosperity, awareness are all derived from a primary source, that of education. Education that comes not only from schools and universities but also from one’s own family, from the local community, from the exchange of knowledge and experiences that are the basis of human relationships.

“Changing Course, Transforming Education” is the theme behind this year’s International Day of Education. A theme that brings us back to the need to reimagine educational models that are more active, challenge-based, inclusive, effective, and creative.

As I have already stressed in this article, to drastically rethink the whole system, education needs to seep through wisdom, the art of achieving a common good beyond different interests and timeframes.

PRESENT AND FUTURE: THE CHALLENGE OF IMPERMANENCE

Everything in today’s lifestyle is grounded in the concept of immutability.

Contemporary man today lives (and consumes) as if his life were eternal and immune from the effects of his actions.

Our own ideas, convictions, and beliefs are often largely rooted in habits and routines, which makes it difficult to move away.

If we think about it, every change of status today is perceived with high doses of stress: changing school, changing job, changing home, growing old.

Global uncertainties, as we call them today.

It is a cultural mindset that, especially in the Western hemisphere, passes from childhood to adulthood in a vicious circle.

Yet, ‘nothing stays the same for more than a few seconds’: these are the powerful words emerging from an interview of Laurie Anderson with the Financial Times.

The idea of impermanence is part of a precious heritage from ancient wisdom. From the laws at the foundation of physics (“Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed”) to the classical philosophy (“Nothing is as enduring as change. There is nothing unchanging except the need to change. Everything flows, nothing remains unchanged” — Eraclito), our predecessors were very clear that everything in the world is in constant transformation. Something that we seem to have totally forgotten.

If we take this reflection back to our educational institutions and teaching methods, it is clear how far we are from educational models able to shape young minds, making them truly prepared to face current and future challenges. And this doesn’t mean stuffing them with theories, it doesn’t mean making them passive replicators of solutions already identified by others, but training them in flexibility, critical thinking, adaptation to a constantly changing world.

Actually, several studies confirm that, still today, children are naturally open to impermanence. Because they constantly build and tear down, they make and unmake, they are free from preconceptions, they enjoy the process rather than the final result and wonder, listen, search, try, directly experiment, and are always curious. This is a crucial flame that we cannot afford to see shut down under the slogan of “constant productivity and maximum efficiency.”

Training youths to be creative thinkers is fundamental. This means providing them the tools to make their solutions adapt to the current needs, that can adjust according to specific social, political, cultural or temporal contexts.

EDUCATION: THE NEW ATTRACTORS OF MINDS AND INVESTMENTS

Realizing that if we want to move the needle and build back better a more conscious and aware society we need to start from the real grassroots, is among the reasons of the incredible trend in new startups and companies investing in education.

According to some studies, in Boston, the place where the highest percentage of sustainability startups can be found, more that 20% of them have being focusing on quality education. This is a snapshot that is also echoed at the global level, where, especially after the pandemic, startups have been identifying the implementation of SDG 4 as a priority, just after the need to improve health and wellbeing.

Source: Journal of Cleaner Production, 2021

It is a global phenomenon that has the potential to fill the leaks and nonsense of the current context: from food literacy to climate-change education, from regenerative agriculture to experiential activities directly into Nature.

In the short run, education has attracted a consistent amount of money: over 16 billion dollars raised by education companies across the world in 2020, with a great predominance of Indian and Chinese companies.

It is a market that is already attracting 32 times more investment than a decade ago and could reach seven trillion dollars in 2025 according to HolonIQ.

EMBRACING REGENERATION THROUGH EDUCATION

There is an urgent need to spread an integral approach to ecology, a change of mentality to regenerate the balance between the environment and the economy, individuals and their community, landscape, and enterprises as the One Health Approach teaches us.

There is an urgent need to pause and reflect, to investigate phenomena under different layers, lenses, and points of view, to find solutions outside the conventional places, to nurture both the mind and the heart, because there is no easy answer to anything.

This is the kind of education that we envision at the Future Food Institute, our first pillar which sustains other organizational activity.

A kind of education that “trains” people again to FEEL, to KNOW, and SUPPORT, as the principles behind the Mediterranean Philosophy teach us and that we have embraced in our Mediterranean School in Pollica (Cilento — Italy). A school that can INCLUDE Youth and NEETs (Neither in Employment nor in Education or Training), adults and farmers, migrants and refugees in search of qualifications, teachers, and trainers.

A type of education that expands the walls of the physical classroom to accommodate the wisdom coming from the natural, social, cultural, and landscape ecosystem, as we have done with our Paideia Campus, a real open-air laboratory of land, sea, and landscape biodiversity based in the middle of the Mediterranean basin, where a medieval village, the archaeological Park of Velia, the millenary olive trees park, Marine Protected Areas, the National Park of Cilento, and farms have become OUR REAL-LIFE CLASSROOMS.

A kind of education that fosters PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING, that creates authentic connections with multiple disciplines, that encourages students to embrace impermanence, to work in teams, to be flexible and adaptive. This also mean training people to valorize beautiful but unused beauties, like we did with Palazzo dei Principi Capano, now completely redeveloped as the headquarters of the Centro Studi Dieta Mediterranea — Angelo Vassallo thanks to the Municipality of Pollica. Or introducing hackathons in schools, to train students with a new mental model, that grounds a SYSTEMIC APPROACH AND PROSPERITY THINKING.

Today, each of us is called to contribute to an integral ecological consciousness. Each of us is called to embrace a sense of responsibility in our daily lives, and this requires courage, awareness, competence, participation, presence, and balance.

This is the heart of integral ecological regeneration, a process that starts from individuals and disseminates its effects across every dimension of life. This is exactly what education should aim for.

The Future Food Institute is an international social enterprise and the cornerstone of the Future Food Ecosystem, an inclusive network and knowledge platform sparking positive change in the global food system by leveraging the power of education.

Through innovative, research-backed academic programs, boot camps, global missions, executive education, and school-based events, FF trains the next generation of changemakers, empowers communities, and engages government and industry in actionable innovation, grounded in integral ecological regeneration, catalyzing progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Learn more at www.futurefoodinsitute.org, join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube. Or attend a program through the FutureFood.Academy!

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Future Food is an ecosystem of innovators committed to generating a global positive impact by empowering the ever growing community of young entrepreneurs, farmers and food innovators with disruptive ideas, and supporting corps and institutions on their path to open innovation.

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sara roversi

sara roversi

Don’t care to market-care to matter! @ffoodinstitute @foodinpro @youcangroup #FutureFood #Entrepreneurship #Education #SocialImpact #GlobalCitizen #G20YEA #B20

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