Kosovo Farm to Table
Farm to Table seminar brings One Health perspective to Kosovo’s future food system and animal health leaders
Just back from two weeks in Kosovo, Transformational Leadership Project principal investigator Dr. Karin Hamilton is encouraged by the enthusiasm of students across the food safety and animal health spectrum for working together to build a strong, safe food system in the developing country.
Hamilton’s visit included meetings with various partners and industry stakeholders to solidify plans for second-year activities for the program (see separate article). The high point of the trip was a four-day Farm to Table noncredit seminar for University of Prishtina on dairy production systems she co-taught with UP professor Afrim Hamidi with help from a number of other UP faculty and teaching assistants. Participants in the seminar were 21 final-year undergraduate students from food technology, veterinary medicine, agro-economics and management of zootech business (the equivalent of animal science) programs.
The seminar started out with a day of classroom learning focusing on food systems. Next, the group visited a small dairy processing facility that made milk, drinkable yogurt and cheese, as well as a larger dairy farm where a bombed-out barn provided a stark reminder of the challenges the country has faced in recent decades. Back on campus the third day, students learned how to perform tests for bacteria, parasites, toxins and antibiotic residues on samples of water, raw milk, pasteurized milk, and manure they had collected during site visits earlier in the week. The students also visited the Food and Veterinary Agency and learned about various milk quality control tests.
At the beginning of the seminar the students were divided into four mixed-major teams. Each team was assigned a specific food safety issue, such as antibiotic residues, to focus on for the week. The final day involved presentations from the multidisciplinary teams. “It was the first time students from these four fields had studied together,” Hamilton says. “Because we were looking at all of the aspects of the dairy food system in an integrated way, they were able to learn from each other and gain valuable new perspectives on how all of their fields come together to shape a safe food system.”
Overall students reported that though the seminar was intense, they appreciated the opportunity to share the learning experience with fellow students from a variety of backgrounds as well as the practical aspects of the course. “It went really well,” Hamilton says. “The students were completely engaged.”
Story by Mary Hoff