Deeply associated with villages across India and the farmers who tilled the land, Mahatma Gandhi once stated, “To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” This simple yet striking observation that deﬁnes the rich philosophy behind farming is the guiding doctrine for the endeavours of the Asian Christian Academy of India (ACA) at Hosur, Tamil Nadu.
Involved in the educational sector since 1976, ACA has implemented a holistic vision towards vocational education and social engagement that foremost involves farming together with the local community. To further this approach that ACA has undertaken since its inception, the Asian Christian Culinary and Agricultural Sciences Institute (ACCASI) – India’s ﬁrst farm-to-table culinary institute that integrates farming knowledge into its diploma and certiﬁcation programs – is all set to deliver relevant educational opportunities.
In simple terms, the farm-to-table concept entails purchasing fresh produce directly from local farmers and incorporating it into meals. The unique farm- to-table culinary diploma program is a Level 2 Diploma by City & Guilds (London), with the agricultural sciences component oﬀered independently by ACCASI.
Since ACCASI was conceptualized based on the awareness and belief in the mutually beneﬁcial relationship that exists between culinary and farming education, the City & Guilds component of the program will provide students the technical skills needed to work in a professional kitchen and the agricultural sciences segment by ACCASI will focus on sustainable and ethical farming practices.
Agricultural training will include dairy and goat farming, free range chicken and duck-rearing, aquaponics, hydroponics, and apiculture in addition to vertical farming and organic farming techniques. Knowledge of the entire vertical chain will oﬀer possibilities for entrepreneurs to explore innovative methods or create new oﬀerings in the domain.
Over time, humankind was drawn to the convenience of having access to varied foodstuﬀs from across the world throughout the year. Consequently, farmers sought to generate higher proﬁts faster by exploiting this trend, which resulted in an increase in food processing and use of pesticides in cultivation. However, in recent years there has been a growing shift towards the procurement and consumption of locally sourced, seasonal, and responsibly grown food.
Given the burgeoning global interest to understand the entire cycle of how food reaches our table from the farm, the ACCASI diploma and certiﬁcation programs – especially ideal for budding restauranters and food entrepreneurs – are designed to equip students to grasp the importance of creating a sustainable food system that supports local farmers, promotes healthy dietary habits, and builds stronger communities.
As an educational organization, ACA possesses a proven track record of achievement in programs ranging from K-12 to post-graduate and doctoral levels. Since ACA farm produce is a valuable source of food for residential faculty and students, as a logical next step, it was decided to integrate and utilize existing farm operations and culinary literacy as an educational tool.
Therefore, the ACA farm spread across several acres of fertile land will cast a strong impact on the exclusive ACCASI courses and aid in leveraging food literacy and advance the utilization of locally sourced seasonal ingredients, thus paving the way for an increase in demand for such agricultural produce.