Jawaharlal Nehru University situated in New Delhi has one of the most recognized universities of not only India but also worldwide. It has since its inception has adopted sustainable techniques for conservation of the environment but with time has acted towards reducing the food wastage.
It is said that the campus land was allotted in a fertile area of Gurgaon. But the scientific team then in the 1960s decided to leave it for agricultural purposes and selected the barren rocky mountainous stretch of the Aravalli ranges near Mehrauli for setting up the campus of this historical university. This was the first step towards food security enhancement. Since then the campus had grown up to be one of the greenest campus in the country. The secondary vegetation had been grown delicately with intensive care. Plants suitable for semi arid conditions, rocky soils with less water requirements like Babool, Kikar etc. had been grown and flourished through the decades. Hostels have been constructed with water conservation structures enabling rainwater and waste water to percolate and recharge the groundwater below it. Check dams had been constructed to conserve overland flow which provide water to the fauna too in the campus which includes foxes, peacocks, nilgais, hedgehogs etc.
Following the legacy of environmental conservation it has adopted a unique technique of reducing food print through community participation. The campus has 16 hostels and supports around 8000 students. Each hostel have a mess with 2 mess managers, around 10 cooks and helpers. The students in the hostels elect 6 mess secretaries from among themselves, who turn-wise take charge of 2 months of mess duties. The mess secretaries decide the weekly menus for a month. The nutritional content and the variations in diet are kept in mind. Three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are designed and the weekly schedules are displayed on the board for all the students. Feedbacks and suggestions are incorporated too. According to the schedule the quantity of oil, cereals, grains, vegetable, eggs, chicken and fish are purchased on a daily basis. The dietary and nutritional requirements of each students are kept in mind and accordingly the daily meals are prepared. This saves a lot of unnecessary storage costs and wastage of food. Often leftover cooked vegetables of a night are mixed up to make a new preparation for the breakfast. Pau Bhaji- The mix vegetable prepared in this is a good example of such a meal.
Sometimes students waste food but there are regular process of recycling the food waste in to a compost manure. JNU campus has a solid waste dumping ground and dedicated collectors. The wasted food is collected daily in bins and dumped in the landfill site behind Transit house near Tapti hostel. These are degraded and used as compost manure for gardening purposes. This recyclable use of wasted food and techniques to reduce food prints should be followed across all universities not only in India but also across the globe.
Certain incentives and fines can be imposed in the hostel to reduce the wastage of food. Quantity of food wasted can be weighed and accordingly a fine be imposed equally on the students in their mess bills. The hostels with no or least food wastage could be provided a subsidy equally distributed on the mess bill of the students of the hostel. In such situations the students would be encouraged to diminish wastage and take active steps to think wisely to recycle the food or even distribute it to street children or to the families of the poor migrant laborers of the campus involved in construction activities.
This kind of practice over long duration of study in the university inculcates such a behavior among the students who will be the citizens of the nation in the future and hence help in developing a sustainable food secure country.
Even in many work places across India food print reduction is actively taken care of. Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. is one such organization which keeps the climate change and food print issues into consideration. The concepts and proposals created here with the motto of socio-economic development and environmental conservation too focus on these issues. Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. strives to reduce the carbon emission and food print scenario through its developmental initiatives not only through its clients but also works towards spreading awareness and implementation skills among its employees. Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. emphasizes on helping the CSR funding to be channelized towards food security issues as well.
Written by – Abira Dutta Roy