This article highlights how Emily Zehnder, Sarah Zehnder, and Leigh Thompson, the Canadian GTTP student winners in 2013, progressed their GTTP research work this year, 2014.
By Heather Brown, Teacher Sponsor, David Thompson Secondary School
The theme of the 2013 Student Research Competition sponsored by the GTTP focused on food and culinary tourism in the participant’s home country. Twenty-two high school students from 12 countries shared the results of their research at the student/teacher conference held in November 2013 in Monaco.
This educational initiative continued beyond the international conference with the work of the Canadian team. Since their visit to Monaco, Emily Zehnder, Sarah Zehnder, and Leigh Thompson found inspiration in the work of their peers and decided to take action by re-designing and implementing some of their recommendations.
Earlier this year, the trio’s final report was used as a guide by a local Cultural Tourism committee. In addition, one of their suggestions, a community kitchen, was simultaneously proposed by a recently formed local non-profit organization that was looking to create food-business incubator opportunities.
With their own action in mind, the team opted to propose two ideas to our town council. The first request they made was that the recently hired event planner focus one community event on local food, which would include education, insight into food production, and of course delicious food for consumption. The second suggestion, a taste trail, is one that the team hopes to implement.
In April 2014, as Grade 12 students, Emily, Leigh and Sarah were the only youth presenters at a provincial conference, “Food for Thought,” hosted by the Columbia Institute for locally elected officials in Vancouver, British Columbia. The young ladies took part in a workshop providing an opportunity for trustees and other elected leaders to discuss the influence the education system can have on engaging youth in finding solutions to community issues.
Food was the focus of the conference and included presenters such as Paula Daniels, who spoke about the importance of setting up networks for all members of the food system, Harold Steves, a pioneer farmer and elected official who is fighting to preserve farmland and Lenore Newman, a Canada Research Chair in Food Security.
Emily, Leigh and Sarah’s work was very well received and considered inspiring by many; in fact several of their ideas were tweeted by councillors and school trustees to their respective tourism committees. Of course we made sure to take the time to eat delicious food and visit local farmers markets!
We look forward to their continued work and future accomplishments. They are a team to watch!