On January 12th, the first group of students enrolled in the new IUC Master on Food, Law and Finance got together to begin their new adventure. Representing four different continents, the nine students were selected among several others to form a small, enthusiastic, specialized and heterogeneous group of bright people committed to generate new thinking around the interaction between food, law and finance.
Their difference will be the force of the program. This year students are lawyers, NGO policy officers, experts in finance and food logistics, agronomists, bakers, cooks and future farmers, but they are mainly people and citizens committed to take food seriously and to give the right weight and importance to an action, that of eating, which is often done without any consideration for the complexity that lies behind any meal. It was enough to hear their stories and their connection with food to understand how passionate they are about food and how important the master will be in helping them strengthening their knowledge and critical consciousness, contribute to ongoing social processes, advocate for the right to food, improve access to quality and nutritious food or set up their own alternative food network on the pillars of ecology, democracy and justice.
When asked about what food is for them, someone replied that ‘food is joy’, while for someone else ‘food is everything, the expression of what we are as individual and communities, but also of our economic, legal and political system’. For sure, food was a moment of participation and a feast when the class reached the Casa del Quartiere di San Salvario (the Neighborhood House) to meet with local farmers and pick vegetables that they sale in one of the forty-three farmers markets that populate the city of Turin every day.
During the next seven months, students will take more than 300 hours of classes on issues like Critical Food Governance, Food Paradigms, Food and Finance, Food Chains and Competition Law, Food, trade and investments, etc. and will be taught by an international faculty composed of leading scholars like Olivier De Schutter, Nora McKeon, Ugo Mattei, Jan Douwe van der Ploeg along with young scholars coming from some of the most prestigious university in Europe (Durham, Sciences Po, Warwick, EUI, Graduate Institute of Geneva, Basel, etc). Moreover, they will meet with the City Council, Civil Society Organizations, producers, transformers, retailers and several other actors of the food chain. They will explore the city, write about its food stories, and reconstruct the chain of actors, legal frameworks and processes that make food possible.