India: Summer Innovation Lab—Food

Analyze current trends and long-term prospects for local food production and nutritional security in the Himalaya

offered by SIT Study Abroad

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Please visit our website for more information. Discover Sikkim’s importance in food production issues. Sikkim, a stunning mountainous state and an ecological hotspot, stands at the forefront of national and regional food politics. Sikkim’s traditional agricultural systems maintain rich agro-biodiversity critical in ensuring nutritional security among mountain communities, yet those historically sustainable practices are facing new challenges even while the state of Sikkim was the first in India, in 2003, to legislate the 100% adoption of organic food production practices. The summer lab in Sikkim is designed to expose you to a variety of agro-ecosystems and agricultural issues. Therefore, you will divide your time between Gangtok, the state capital in the east district (two days at the beginning of the lab and three days at the end of the lab), and Lingee Payong village (15 days) and Sumbuk Village (three days), both in Sikkim’s south district. Four days will also be required to travel roundtrip between Delhi and Sikkim with one night halt in Delhi. During the program, you will engage in facilitated discussions and debriefing sessions in the following areas: Sikkim: people, livelihood, culture, and society Traditional and integrated agriculture systems in Sikkim Agro-biodiversity: food culture and habits Gender and local agro-biodiversity: production and nutrition Globalization and food production in mountain communities Climate change and agricultural biodiversity Government policies on rural development and its implication on food production and nutrition Prior to the execution of the collaborative project, you will attend a culminating half-day workshop with experts and local community members to understand sustainability in relation to food and nutrition security in the context of globalization, climate change, and government policies. Gain hands-on experience through a collaborative lab project. By the end of the first week you will be living with homestay families in the village of Lingee Payong. Throughout the food lab, you engage with experts — local practitioners, academics, community activists, professionals, independent scholars, and community residents — to gain a more nuanced understanding of issues relating to food from a multitude of unique perspectives. Rural homestay immersion with farming families means that you will also take part in daily chores and engage in hands-on agricultural activities. Throughout weeks one and two, the threads of potential ideas for collaborative lab projects, grounded in mutual interests, emerge from immersive experience, facilitated community dialogue, and frequent critical reflection sessions supported by academic literature. These embryonic ideas, in turn, provide the basis for further conversations with community members on the project type and its design by the end of week two. Week three focuses on project execution and preliminary implementation, while the final week (week four) focuses on the realization, assessment, and trouble-shooting of the proposed project or, depending upon scale and feasibility given the remaining time available, the completion of the project proposal for implementation and completion of the project at a later date.  Engagement in hands-on projects will equip you to understand and analyze the current trends and long-term prospects for local food production and nutritional security in the Himalayas.


  • Agriculture
  • Agricultural Business And Technology
  • Agricultural Economics
  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Environmental Studies
  • Sustainable Development
  • Development Studies


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