Nutrition and prevention are very big parts of the education structure at HMU, so much so that the school busses students miles outside of the city to farm sites to shake hands with farmers. HMU students visit a farm during their rotations and learn how to critique farming conditions for sanitation and food supply chain management. They see where the farm grows organic produce vs. non-organic produce. They see where they keep their livestock and how they feed their livestock.
They ask questions like:
“What happens to the pigs if they are sick?” and
“What precautions do you take to improve the health of the farm animals?”
They are very interested in preventing a disease pandemic through food transmission. They are taught that cases of diarrhea induced by food born illnesses can be deadly and have devastating population health effects. They learn about where Hanoi’s bulk agriculture is grown and how the soil is cultivated. They have conversations with the farmers about water sanitation, water supply, crop cycles and climate conditions. They bend down and feel the leaves of the growing plants, walk through the fields to speak with the workers, and even pick leave to taste the produce right from the growing plant.
In addition to the farm and agriculture experience, HMU students are also required to write a report about sanitation and propose a solution to a food safety issue that they see within Hanoi. Students presented their solutions as a part of their final in the nutrition and food safety module from perspective of the local street market food scene, the local restaurant, and even the school-based nutrition programs. I am encouraged by the program goals and initiatives and how the University is taking food safety and nutrition seriously!