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Lessons on a sustainable food system from Florence, Italy!

I had the pleasure of spending the past week in Florence, Italy to study the food system there. I took a group of 12 students to observe the differences in our food system.

We ate WELL


and learned a LOT.

Huge thanks to our colleagues at Lorenzo di Medici University in Florence for their coordination of our experience, from two culinary classes in Cucina at the Central Market, to a tour of an organic farm tour just outside of Florence. Also iBike Tuscany provided a charming peek at the rural landscape around Florence including a delicious stop at a Toscan Villa, working olive oil farm and winery. A tour of restaurants in Florence allowed us to experience first-hand their passion for food, from its local sourcing to the generations-old recipes that are still used today. ‘Farm to plate’ isn’t a trendy expression in Italy, it is deeply rooted in their traditions.

It is gift to be able to have these open dialogues and learn from each other – taking the good from each culture.

As with previous experiences in Europe, tap water appears to be one area where the US is more sustainable. It is virtually impossible to get tap water in a glass at a restaurant, as bottled water is the only option. While I understand that some of these glass containers are shipped back to the suppliers and refilled, most were in single-use plastic bottles. It was even a challenge to find water fountains in the European airports.

Here is a link to the Blog I kept while there, following our daily experiences and conversations. (

I feel so fortunate to now have these colleagues and friends in Italy and hope to continue our discussions and collaborations.

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