The 13thof October SmakÅs invited people from all over Ås to enjoy a festival of food and technology. With stands lined up from campus to the center of town, people could try all kinds of food while learning more about its origins and ways to make more sustainable food.
SmakÅs is according to themselves, the only environmentally friendly food-and-techonology festival that takes place in Norway. Almost all Ås’ population was present at the festival, from the oldest generations to the youngest ones, everyone had the opportunity to learn something new and enjoy.
Play with the food
The first of the five locations was named “Food and Animals” and took place at Vitenparken. Here you had to really work your way through the crowd to get to the café. A bunch of eager young kids were participating in different activities and the parents were not shy to join in. Down in the basement one could cuddle chickens and outside you could find skilled kids trying out the catapult made of food with a lot of success. The whole point – to play with the food!
I went on towards the center, but did not come any further than Meierikrysset, where the sign “Free soft-ice” caught my attention. Here, many of the researchers from NMBU stood ready to inspire people’s curiosity with the ice cream made by goat cheese. One of the research projects that was presented was “FoodProFuture”, that really attracted people with its innovative hummus made of Norwegian chickpeas. The purpose of the project was to expand the horizons of Norwegian’s production in achieving sustainable products. The center for food technology at NMBU, FôrTek used sushi to drag people into this station and learn. And while people were eating the sushi, they could reflect on sustainable food production, and what it really means.
There were also students from NMBU represented at this festivity. Lærken was singing beautifully and gathered people towards Storebrand where you could smell food from all over the world. 14 student groups represented ISU and were waiting to offer a small sample of the most important food from their home countries.
From earth to the table
Apart from being able to try an extensive variety of food, attendants could also work on the land. At Søråsjordet, you could find Ås Landbrukslag, who invited people to pluck potatoes. On an attempt to explain how we all enjoy food, they said that despite this, not everyone knows the real effort and work that it takes and that it is pretty rewarding. They wanted to shed light on the fact that many people nowadays are somewhat distanced from nature. Young and old people searched for potatoes in the earth, and could happily bring them home, knowing that they themselves had worked hard to get them. In the center, farms could also show some local food. A bunch of sheep were there to give away some wool, so that people could make threads of it like our ancestors use to do in the old days to make clothes. “from earth to the table” was oriented to the kids at Rustad School in Ås. They had a project about learning where food comes from, where they visit farms every week, learning about harvesting and its different processes. If this project becomes a success, it will be really promising for Ås.
SmakÅs gave the population of Ås the possibility to taste, learn about sustainable food and be involved in several food processes. After attending this festival, nobody went home with their stomachs empty – that’s for sure!