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EatUp Festival – UCSI University collaborates with WormingUp

The second EatUp Festival Public Outreach Programme, which was conducted recently at Giant Kota Padawan Mall from the 16th to the 17th of March, was officiated by Y.B. Cr. Ir. Lo Khere Chiang Padawan Municipal Municipal Council (PMC), Chairman ADUN N13 Batu Kitang Assemblyman. This event was jointly organised by the Padawan Municipal Council and WormingUp with the collaboration of UCSI Sarawak and Sarawak Energy Bhd.

The EatUp Festival was an event designed with three main purposes in mind. The first aim was to raise awareness of food wastage in the Padawan area, and to empower the community to change their wasteful habits. And in so-doing, it also served as a platform from which to promote a sustainable green alternative to the Padawan community’s present-day practices. The second aim was to bring various volunteers, government bodies, non-governmental organisations, businesses, and culinary professionals together to establish a spirit of cooperation and altruism as they embarked on a public outreach programme. And the third aim of this festival was to educate the Padawan area students about current food wastage issues in their schools as well as some sustainable green options which could be easily implemented, encouraging them to become catalysts toward reducing food waste in their school canteens.

In addressing its three main aims, this festival proved to be an effective platform from which to address four of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; namely, SDG2 Zero Hunger, SDG9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG12 Responsible Consumption and Production, and SDG13 Climate Change.

The various booths at the EatUp Festival were: cheese making from expired milk, insect composting, bio-enzyme making, soap making from used cooking oil, eco-planting, plastic shaping, and compostable fabrics. Along with all these booths was the UCSI University’s RCE (Regional Centre of Expertise) booth from which the public learned more about RCE Kuching and the RCE Youth Ambassador Programme, which are led by UCSI University, and aim to engage with all sectors in society, especially youth, to raise the sustainability literacy of the rural and urban communities of Kuching. There was also a UCSI Gastronomy Enterprise Club (GEC) booth offering free lunch that was prepared by the GEC and Youth Ambassadors. All the dishes were made from ‘forgotten food’.

It was an honour for the GEC and Youth Ambassadors of UCSI University Sarawak to be a part of the EatUp Festival, taking part in creating recipes and cooking the lunch for the two day festival with ‘forgotten food’.  The volunteers were briefed by Jeff Wee of WormingUp before embarking on this culinary adventure. During the briefing, Jeff explained, “the term ‘forgotten food’ means food that is made from edible wasted food. The food is often wasted because of its shape and size or because it is peeled from fruits and vegetables during food preparation”.

The ‘forgotten food’ was prepared by 58 UCSI student volunteers, consisting of GEC members and Youth Ambassadors, and was served at the festival by student volunteers from various schools and universities. The food was made from soy pulp, cempedak seeds, watermelon skins, white radish leaves, and bread crusts. The food made from these ingredients were deep fried cempedak, cempedak seed salad, white radish leaves and watermelon skin kimchi, bread toasted biscotti, soy pulp tempeh coated with pineapple, caramel and soy gonjung sauces, soy pulp cookies, and soy pulp fries, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Joseph Pudun, the advisor of the GEC, supervised and monitored the work done in the UCSI Culinary Kitchens while the students researched and created the recipes, and then prepared and cooked the dishes. Joseph expressed his satisfaction in what the students learned through this experience, “This event impacted our students and gave them insight into how important it is to reduce kitchen waste and to use all edible food parts when preparing food”.

At the EatUp Festival, the GEC booth was able to give away 1500 sets of delicious food to the public – food that was completely made of ‘forgotten food’. And the remaining food scraps were separated and collected for composting purposes. The general consensus of the people at the event was that the food tasted great and first rate. So the biggest take away from this event is ‘forgotten food’ should be forgotten no more. And we should all get creative and take a stand against food waste.

With the meaningful input from initiatives such as the EatUp Festival, the UCSI Gastronomy Enterprise Club and the Youth Ambassadors of RCE Kuching will be better equipped to do their part in initiating green solutions as an integral part of Malaysian society.