Lachinkhanim Huseynli is a PhD candidate in food science at the Tallinn University of Technology who successfully completed “From Waste to Value: How to Tackle Food Waste”. It is an online course produced by EIT Food and the University of Reading, in collaboration with Mimica and Rethink Resource, available now at the EIT Campus. We had a conversation with her about her impressions on her learning experience.
Getting to know each other
“You can call me Lachin”, she starts, after guiding us on how to pronounce her Azerbaijani name. Finding meat alternatives was one of the drivers for her to pursue a career in food science. A bachelor’s degree, a master’s, and enormous amounts of studying in eight different countries were cause and effect of Lachin’s primary career purpose: a more sustainable food system for everyone. Because “everybody wants and needs to eat”, food and nutrition became crucial to Lachin’s research interests.
But beside her formal doctoral training in university, our expert was ironically hungry for further training on food systems. So, when she accidentally found all EIT Food training courses online, she could not resist enrolling in EIT Food’s online course From Waste to Value: How to Tackle Food Waste. “I was curious about how understandable for the average society this course was, and I was really surprised of how much effort was put into place to put all that knowledge together”, she explained.
Developing professional skills through online courses
For Lachin, who had already a wide knowledge of the field, this course helped her refresh ideas, concepts and practices that she was familiar with in the first place. But additionally, she acquired a set of complementary skills that will foster her career development, especially the ability to popularise food science, “putting it into simple words that everyone can understand”, she said.
But why is it so important to extend the knowledge about food systems to all layers of our society? According to Huseynli, because “we are only able to make a difference when we are aware of the problem”. Indeed, as she rightfully argued, “society needs to know and understand where their food is coming from, how it is treated before and after the consumption stage of the chain. We have corrupted our relationship with farming and agriculture, because we just go to the market and put the package in the basket, but no one tells us how that food got there, and how big was the effort behind to bring it there. That lack of awareness has an impact on our perception and makes it easier for us to not consume food and simply throw it away”.
Learning about Food systems: from an upskilling perspective to school curricula
Lachin, as a professional, had a very rewarding experience taking this online course to reinforce her knowledge on food sustainability and how to expand it to others. But she would even go a step further: “What you are doing [promoting online courses in food systems] is very important and necessary. I would go further and make this type of content mandatory in schools, because tackling the root of the problem is what will really changes society”.
In that regard, EIT Food, promoter of the course in question, joyfully received the learner’s positive feedback. In words of Vivien Bodereau, Education Programme Manager at EIT Food: “Testimonials like Lachin’s are of great worth to EIT Food as they not only help us attract more curious minds to our courses, but also highlight the high standards of our short online courses and their potential to bring about significant change in people’s lives. Such stories can serve as a powerful source of inspiration and motivation for those beginning their own learning journeys, building a community of lifelong learners”.
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