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1. Introduce yourself! Who are you and what did you study?
Hi, I'm Fiona. I grew up in a small village in Germany until this wasn't exciting enough anymore. So I had a first taste of what it means to live abroad when I moved to New Zealand for a year. I then returned to Germany to study dietetics in Munich but couldn't quite settle in anymore. So after graduating, I moved to the Netherlands to study European Food Business (EFB) at AERES in Almere. Among my classmates, I was probably known for my extreme coffee-consumption.
2. What was decisive for you in your choice of study?
Learning about the causes of people's heart conditions, liver failures, etc. and the applicable diets therefore, made me question our food system. Eating food shouldn't make us sick. Yet, many products that we can find in our supermarkets aren't supporting healthy diets and healthy options are usually more inconvenient. It didn't make sense to me. I wanted to focus on preventing people from getting sick, to support them in eating healthier in the first place. Working in the food industry seemed a valid place to be. When I then googled for "food studies" I found the European Food Business program.The opportunity to live in three countries, study in English, learn about a wide spectrum of topics and focus on high-quality food; it sounded like the program was made for me.
3. What is the most valuable thing you have learned during your studies for you?
For me it was great that the studies covered lots of different areas. I think it helped me to see the world on a much complexer level and consider how interconnected things are. I didn't know what I wanted to do after my studies, but gaining insights into different topics was a great way to find out what interests me.
4. Can you briefly explain your graduation place and project?
During my studies, I found out how much food we as a society are wasting. For the most minor reasons! I dedicated my graduation project to this topic. I like seeing food waste as an opportunity not only for sustainability. I think there also sits social, economic and ethical potential. For my project, I wanted to use the leftover pulp from plant-based drinks and juices as an ingredient for snacks. A highly nutritious product (high in fibres, vitamins and minerals) that's currently used as animal feed or for biofuels; in the best case. Often times it's simply thrown out. Life happens (or Covid-19) and the project scope shifted but it was a great experience nonetheless.
5. What position do you fulfill now and when do you have a good working day?
I currently work as a freelancer in marketing and business development for food and sustainability focussed startups. Thanks to my studies I made valuable contacts in the scene and was able to start freelancing already during my studies. I love the speed and the variety of tasks. I love planning and getting things done. It gives me energy when at the end, I see things are coming together and work out (in the best case). And otherwise, I'll have to adapt the plan.