22nd October 2018
By Ian Smith
Food Plymouth enjoys a fruitful working partnership with the University of Plymouth’s business school. The latest expression of this was an invitation to take part in a networking lunch with entrepreneurs, professionals and academics from Malaysia and other Pacific Rim countries.
The context of this is that the University of Plymouth has a new, major, strategic partnership with Peninsula College in Malaysia. Each year, Dato Michael, the Managing Director of PKT Logistic Sdn Bhd, brings 20 Malaysian professionals to the UK for a study tour. Following the success of the first visit to the University of Plymouth in May this year, Dato brought a second, different group of people from Malaysia and the Pacific rim to visit. This group was a mixture of academics and business professionals.
I was delighted to represent Food Plymouth at this event. I was deeply impressed and inspired by the energy and drive of the visitors, who were enjoying a visit to Plymouth as part of their UK study tour. In return, I was able to explain Food Plymouth’s history and trajectory within the Sustainable Food Cities movement and emphasise Plymouth’s Social Enterprise City context.
At the event, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Dr Geeta Appannah, Senior Lecturer from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at University Petra Malaysia (UPM). Two aspects of our conversation were of great significance: Firstly, the striking similarities around health inequalities and diet related ill health in both our countries; secondly, how Geeta had come on the study tour as part of an extensive programme to help her to appreciate the economic dimensions of her practice and to locate herself and her work in an economic frame as well as a social one. In this vein, it was wonderful to find a health and wellbeing professional and distinguished academic happily in company with business people, including venture capitalists. I found this commitment to inter-disciplinary understanding refreshing and packed with potential. It is certainly worth adapting to the UK context.
My hope is that Geeta will return to the Plymouth for similar activities in the future. If this happens, I will do my best to create an opportunity for her to meet with a wider Food Plymouth audience to all-round advantage. Watch this space …