FST Brings Students to University of British Columbia for an Exploration of Natural Medicine and Sustainable Farming
From 4th June to 16th June 2018, a group of 18 students from three different programmes of the Department of Food and Health Sciences went on a 13-day study tour to the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver. The tour allowed students to experience campus farming and strengthen their knowledge on the areas of healthy food, herbal medicine and sustainable living environment.
Led by Dr Emily Choi, Assistant Professor of Food Sciences and Safety Programme and Dr Abel Chun, Teaching Fellow of Health Care Programme and supported by the Faculty of Land and Food Systems of UBC, the tour encompassed both lectures and practical sessions including farm visits, market researches, workshops and group research projects.
During the tour, our students were able to learn quickly the functions and usage of various medicinal and edible plants by getting their hands dirty in the UBC Farm – organic crops harvesting, herbs collection, salves preparation, herbal balm and powder capsule production and etc. are all exciting hands-on experiences and learn-in-the-field opportunities to them. In addition to these experimental learning sessions, they also grasped the basic concepts of agroecosystem and soil science, and connected them with the practices of sustainable farming for healthy food and herbal medicine through plenary sessions. Paying visits to the campus roof-top garden also allowed them to observe and compare multiple models of agricultural food production in an urban and campus farm setting.
Apart from practical agricultural knowledge, students also developed a comprehensive view of marketing systems and the regionally-grounded food systems during the field study in the farmer’s markets of Vancouver and further analyzed the differences between the systems in Canada and Hong Kong.
All the learning outcomes were proved in the final group presentation where students demonstrated strong team-work, research and communications skills. Being global citizens, they have also leveraged their exposure and knowledge from this tour and formulated proposal for “green promotion” in THEi campus.