Farm-to-table concept: How the industry and commerce are integrated to the academic education system
School of Food and Agriculture, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, P.O. Box ⁴¹², ⁶0³²0 Seinäjoki, Finland;
The academic education within the complete farm-to-table concept was brought together at the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (Seinäjoki UAS), combining the schools of Agriculture, Food and Biotechnology engineering and Hospitality management as school of Food and Agriculture. By a close cooperation, the schools of primary production, food engineering, and commerce & marketing, establish a way to efficiently facilitate the learning process of the students, and help them to obtain knowledge of all stages in the production of food. Accomplished employees with multiple skills and good understanding of the complete food chain are in greater demand. This is particularly evident in case of SMEs. Large companies may rely more on specialists. The good knowledge of marketing and sales, as well as the product development and the logistics are further areas that possess room for improvement in many companies located in South Ostrobothnia region. Furthermore, companies evaluate sustainability and ethical responsibility as values of greatest significance. From the educational perspective, a comprehensive theoretical knowledge accompanied by well-organized practical training periods is important. Approaches to tighten up the interactions between the education at Seinäjoki UAS school of Food and Agriculture and the enterprises in southern Ostrobothnia region are further evaluated. Education implementing projects is becoming regularly utilized in the student curricula at UAS. Students learn cooperativity, sharing and taking responsibility, and they learn to take initiatives and to solve problems – important skills in real working environment. Re-grouping students with different acts as an innovative and motivating force for students and gives an option for companies to introduce themselves. Novel technological solutions for data collection and analysis, based on mobile laboratory equipment and other systems, open up new possibilities for education within the farm-to-table concept.