I had the privilege of co-creating and delivering a workshop yesterday at the Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts (MICA) on the campus of Assiniboine Community College (ACC) in Brandon, Manitoba. In collaboration with faculty members Matt Otten and Joanne Canada-Somers and Kyle Zalluski, we provided about 50 students with opportunities to learn about climate change, and discuss the implications of what was learned in terms of their own lives and professions.
We then engaged the students in crafting an interactive lunch experience making two soups, fresh and warm tea biscuits, a salad with freshly-made dressing, angel food cake with fresh strawberries, and WOW, was it good! As much as possible, local foods from within a 100 mile radius were used. During the morning and lunch experience, we began the process of engaging students to tell their own story of what they are learning, and why tourism marketing today is so dependent on Internet technology. Using a new WordPress Blog, four students took photographs and wrote two articles that captured some of their learning, impressions, and their quotes. Well done!
This new blog served as a useful tool to discuss the implications of Web2.0 in tourism. We discussed how chefs in other places in the world are using blogs, and how different websites can convey the essence of the “culinary experience” by using effective photographs, videos, or well-written blogs. The afternoon discussion with our panel of student photographers and writers as well as the rest of the students and teachers reviewing the uploaded blog content was instructive and tangible – it was immediate feedback to everyone.
I provided a concluding presentation about experiential tourism including a few examples of the kinds of tourism experiences that Earth Rhythms is crafting. A facilitated student sharing circle at the end was powerful with insights about the impact of the day.
This is a very important audience. Students graduating from tourism and culinary schools today will be our leaders in restaurants and tourism enterprises in the future. They will be creating food experiences for travelers to Manitoba over the next generation. Being aware of the carbon footprint of food as part of the travel experience is one step towards developing food and tourism experiences that demonstrate sustainability. We look forward to finding ways to partner in business, with the students and faculty of MICA, to create new Manitoba cuisine. What a great introduction! Thank you.