I believe in food: Credo Kitchen for food sustainability and education

I believe in food: Credo Kitchen for food sustainability and education

March 30, 2018

I believe in food: Credo Kitchen for food sustainability and education

Food connects people: this is what Credo Kitchen Destination Dinners is all about (and about refugees, food sustainability and food waste reduction).

Credo Kitchen is project led by Sofia Villalón, a student in International Relations and French at SUNY Geneseo University, in New York: an educational and culinary initiative which aims to educate students and community members on the refugee crisis through food and storytelling. 

Food sustainability, food security, nutrition, humanization and education, are just part of the key words which can summarize the mission and the community of Credo Kitchen, as Sofia told to BCFN

Can you explain us more about what Credo Kitchen is? 

Credo Kitchen is your food for thought. This culinary event started in the Fall of 2017, as part of my activities as an Ambassador in the Frank Vafier ’74 Leadership Program at my University; members from the Geneseo community, refugees from Rochester, and Geneseo migrant workers were all invited. When they came together to campus, they showcased their region’s traditional food during a one-hour VIP tasting where student sample original dishes prepared by the refugee chefs (Ethiopian, Nigeria and a Pakistani) as well as our campus chefs.

How did you come up with this idea?

I love food, it is my passion. I grew up around my Mexican nanny and she told me a lot about food, and I learned a lot through it. It is a way to humanize, and since one issue that it is particularly important for me is refugees, in regard also to the political situation here in the U.S., so I though, you know, even if it doesn’t sound political, we can still come around food and understand what are the stories behind these people, their memories, their feelings.

Why this name?

This is funny, actually. I was in my Humanities class the first time I heard this word: credo is a statement of the beliefs or aims that guide someone's actions. For me, my credo, my belief, is that food is what brings people to action. And brings people together. So, if I can use food in order to let people understand each other and to interpret global issues in a different way, then it means I am doing it right.

What is your role during these tastings?

I would provide valuable yet brief information on the country and culture being represented and often this would involve discussing the current political climate. My role is to facilitate the discussions, but not only: I am making sure students are aware of the mission of Credo, I have a network and I reach out to them, plus I pretty much design the overall program, I did the marketing… It is like a “one-man show” but the chefs are the real protagonists. You know, during these events everyone feels comfortable but uncomfortable at the same time, we sometimes do not know how to share both plates and experiences, but nevertheless this foster dialogue among us. After these tastings I left everyone more open minded.


What are next steps for Credo Kitchen?

On March 28th, I am hosting one last event, which is called “From Farm to Fork” that discusses the problem of food waste in our communities as well as nutrition education and food sustainability. Because Credo is also the place to discuss about global issues in a broader prospective: we will create a three-course menu that meets daily nutritional values cooked all with locally sourced products, thanks also to an association which connects local farmers to bigger organizations. This menu hopefully will provide take away information for students to practice a more sustainable and nutritious lifestyle and fight food waste.

Find out more about Food and Education

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