In Search of the Great River - Gastronomic Science and the Po

Italy’s mighty but ailing Po River will get a complete checkup over the coming month which will focus not only on the waterway’s ills but also its cultural and scientific wealth.

In Search of the Great River is an initiative by Italy’s University of Gastronomic Sciences and will see 153 students and their professors travel by bicycle and boat from the river’s source near Monviso in northwest Italy to its delta on the Adriatic. ~ Po River to Get Check Up – ANSA

I like the idea of studying an ecosystem from the standpoint of folks who want to make it work for everyone.

In America, we’re only allowed to hear two radical sides to every argument. On one hand, the anti-regulation industrialist side, which buys the ears of many media outlets and openly whines, “How are the big businesses that keep the US in SUVs going to make ever increasing profits if they aren’t allowed to totally screw up the environment? We’re tired of thinking of new and innovative ways to make things!”

That raises the hackles of the environmentalists, who claim to eat no living thing and want to save the pristine environment for the children they aren’t having.

Which results in a tie.

The University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo is an interesting part of the Slow Food movement. It’s not a cooking school, although the end result of study often leads to some kind of position in the food industry. Odd to say “industry,” but that’s the innovative part: why not put people trained in problem solving on the front lines of the battle for good food and sustainable agriculture? Why not look for innovative ways to bring the best food to market with the least harm to the earth, waterways and people who live in the area?

We sometimes forget that even in the US, a corporation is likely to have signed up to be a public interest corporation. Like government, which is supposed to by “of, by and for the people,” likewise corporations are chartered to enhance rather than destroy the lives of generations. It hasn’t been working out that way lately, has it?

Here’s hoping that studying the Po is a wake up call for us to start solving problems rather than standing at the brink and yelling at each other.

I visited the University of Gastronomic Sciences a few years ago. Interesting place. Here are their objectives:

The objective is to create an international research and training center, working to renew farming methods, protect biodiversity and maintain an organic relationship between gastronomy and agricultural science.

I wish them luck, though I think the world needs more than luck.

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In Search of the Great River - Gastronomic Science and the Po originally appeared on , updated: Dec 09, 2020 © .

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