UK-China Agritech Challenge- CITRUSAFE

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: School of Food Science and Nutrition

Abstract

The proposal addresses China's development priorities to eliminate waste and improve food safety. The project will exploit
complementary Chinese and UK research and industrial expertise to valorise waste from large scale (>10 million tons of
waste) Chinese mandarin canning manufacturing for food safety applications. Efficient green technologies will be optimised
to extract and refine food grade hydrocolloids and citrus bioactives from both solid and liquid waste streams. The focus will
be on improving extraction efficiencies and solubility of the compounds to ensure compatibility with foods and packaging
matrices. The exploitable outputs will be well defined biomaterials with downstream processing applications in two
manufacturing sectors: (1) food additives and (2) food packaging. Food and packaging prototypes will be developed and
selected according to optimal antimicrobial and antioxidant properties against key spoilage pathogens in high risk foods
(e.g. meat and fish products) and consumer acceptability. This project will utilise China sustainable materials, provide
commercial opportunities to Chinese and UK industries with benefits to the environment and the safety of consumers.

Planned Impact

FOOD SAFETY: one of the main aims of this innovate/BBSRC Newton Fund projects is to improve the safety of commodity
products in China, focusing on high-risk commodity products including poultry and fish. Through this project, we will
demonstrate the application of pectin biofilm and citrus bioactives as antimicrobials agents against key food pathogens.
Our aim is to extend shelf-life of high-risk foods (chicken and fish) by at least 24 h.
ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS: The main objective of this project is to deliver improvements in environmental quality by
reducing or eliminating unavoidable waste from food processing streams. In addition, improvements to shelf life have the
potential to reduce food waste even further, it is estimated that extending shelf life by 24 h would cut food waste by 10%.
The project will undertake life-cycle analysis to quantify potential environmental impacts. If Xiang Shan Hua YU Ltd. adopts
the technology and expands its waste treatment capability, it will lead to a reduction of 10 million tons of liquid waste and 1
million tons of solid waste in the short to medium term (2-5 years). Adoption of the waste treatment technology by other
companies (there are at least 50 other mandarin canning factories in the region) will increase the scale of impact in the
longer term (5-10 years).
IMPROVED REGULATION: technical advances will lead to development and maintenance of fit-for-purpose regulations
and practical guidance for waste utilisation technologies. In the longer term, the project may play a part in development of
food safety legislation of packaged food products.
ECONOMIC BENEFITS FOR THE UK ECONOMY: This project has significant potential for commercial exploitation of
products and industrial processes by UK companies. Successful completion of the proposed project will have significant
commercial impact for the UK companies in the short, medium and longer term. While the UK companies have existing
routes to market in EEA, the project will open market opportunities in China.
ECONOMIC BENEFIT IN CHINA: In the long term (>5 years), improvements in food safety systems will allow China to
increase food exports.
DIETARY HEALTH OF THE CHINESE POPULATION (>5years): Associated with improved food safety will be the
increased availability of nutritious foods such as poultry and fish. China is still developing and malnutrition through
unavailability or unaffordability of nutritious food is still prevalent. According to WHO data 12.7 million children are stunted
in China including 20% of children in rural areas. Increase in food availability should reduce the need for food aid.
SOCIAL BENEFIT (>5 years): The project has the potential to stimulate the local economy, increase employment and
source of income for rural populations.

Publications

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Chen H (2019) Recovery of High Value-Added Nutrients from Fruit and Vegetable Industrial Wastewater. in Comprehensive reviews in food science and food safety

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Wu D (2020) Rethinking the impact of RG-I mainly from fruits and vegetables on dietary health. in Critical reviews in food science and nutrition

 
Description This collaborative project supports China's sustainable development ambitions to:
(1) deliver improvements in environmental quality by reducing or eliminating unavoidable waste from food processing streams. The project has developed methodologies to recover food grade biopolymers and bioactives from solid (peels) and liquid (canning water) waste streams of mandarin canning manufacturing. The methodologies for biopolymer recovery have been tested at pilot scale in a commercial factory in Ningbo, China; while bioactive recovery have been tested at pilot scale in China and the UK. The biopolymers and bioactives are being used to develop new formulations, for food (see (2)) and non-food commercial applications. Full characterisation of the food grade biopolymers and bioactives will benefit exploitation activities.
(2) achieve food safety and reduce risk of food borne disease by developing food ingredients that can replace high-risk animal products and extend shelf life of commodity products. The project has developed 4 food prototypes that incorporate recovered biopolymers as animal-fat and gelatin replacers (sausages, yogurt, ice cream and bakery). Consumer trials in China show good acceptability of products. Antibacterial and antifungal activities of the ingredients have been demonstrated in model and food systems.
(4) reduce food loss through bio-compatible food packaging. The project has developed packaging prototypes that utilize citrus biopolymers and bioactives. These prototypes have been produced at pilot scale in industrial facilities (Parkside Flexibles). The packaging material is showing shelf-life extension of fruit compared to conventional packaging. Two surveys (one in China, one in UK) provide information on consumers' attitudes and behaviours to compostable and recyclable packaging.
(5) provide new sources of employment and income to people in traditional agricultural communities. The project has established a pathway for exporting mandarin peels to Europe for commercial purposes, and ongoing exploitation of biopolymers and bioactives in the UK and China.
Exploitation Route - Valorisation of unavoidable food waste using green technologies offers opportunities for a range of industries across the world to reduce the environmental impact of food production.
- The application of recovered ingredients (biopolymers and bioactive compounds) for replacing animal fats and gelatine has implications for food sustainability and food safety. The recovered ingredients are being tested by a range of commercial partners in food, feed and cosmetic sectors.
- Protocols for assessing antimicrobial (antibacterial and antifungal) activities can be used to evaluate bioactive potential for biological and commercial purposes.
- Surveys on attitudes to food packaging maybe used as basis for further studies to develop strategies to improve uptake of biodegradable and compostable packaging.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

URL https://citrusafe.leeds.ac.uk/
 
Description Emerging impact - Environmental benefit in China: the project has developed technology for recovering biopolymers and small molecule bioactives from canning water. A pilot plant has been built and is operational at the Xiang Shan Hua YU Ltd factory, in Ningbo Province. If the process is upscaled to all canning factories in China, it could remove 3.6 tons of waste water. - Economic impact in China: the project has established a pathway for exporting dried mandarin peels to Europe, at a ton scale. This has potential to generate income for mandarin factories in rural China, which currently dispose peels or use them for low-value animal feed. Commercialisation of recovered biopolymers and bioactives in China and the UK is under way, with prototype products in testing phase.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Membership of the BBSRC Horticultural Quality and Food Loss Network
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
URL https://foodlossnetwork.com/
 
Description Optimization and Demonstration of a Sustainable Bioprocess for Extraction of Value-Added Food Supplements and Ingredients from Crustacean Waste Resource
Amount £187,684 (GBP)
Funding ID 105612 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2019 
End 01/2022
 
Title Protocol for antibacterial assessment of citrus bioactives 
Description The research established protocols for evaluation of the antibacterial activity of citrus bioactive compounds against E.coli. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The protocol will be used in demonstration of biological activity and potential industrial application of plant bioactive compounds. 
 
Title Protocol for green extraction, purification, analysis and antifungal activity of citrus bioactive compounds 
Description The project developed green extraction methodologies for citrus bioactive compounds, established protocols for: - solid phase extraction (SPE) - HPLC-UV-MS composition analysis - in vitro protocols for assessing their antimicrobial activity against Aspergillus flavus. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The protocol leads to consistent extraction of bioactives, which is important for biological assays and potential industry applications. The protocol will lead to improve harmonisation of antifungal assessment of plant bioactive extracts, including calculations of minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). 
 
Title Questionnaire on attitudes and behaviour to food packaging purchasing and recycling (in English) 
Description A questionnaire was developed that surveyed attitudes and behaviour to food packaging purchasing and recycling (in English). 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Identification of main barriers and enablers for UK consumers in relation to bio compostable and recycling of food packaging. 
 
Title Questionnaire on attitudes and behaviour to food packaging purchasing and recycling (in Mandarin Chinese) 
Description A questionnaire was designed to survey attitudes and behaviour to food packaging purchasing and recycling (in English). 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The main barriers and enablers for Chinese consumers to purchase and recycle of food packaging were understood. 
 
Description Collaboration agreement- Citrusafe 
Organisation Biopower Technologies Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The project outcomes will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team in both China and the UK. The team includes two UK SMEs working in different parts of the food sector: milling processing (Biopower Technologies) and food additives (Keracol Limited) and a packaging medium sized company specialising on food trays for the meat industry (Parkside Flexibles Limited). The companies will work together and with a Chinese food ingredients company (Xiang Shan Hua Yu Limited) to produce new products for the international market. The commercial process expertise will be complemented by academic expertise in Food Science and Nutrition provided by Zhejiang University and the University of Leeds.
Collaborator Contribution Zhejiang University is a research intensive University in Jiangsu Province, ranked 3rd in overall academic rankings, hosting the Fuli Centre for Food Innovation. Zhejiang University has academic expertise in food colloids and bioprocessing (Chen), process and post-harvest engineering (Ye, Liu), aquatic processing (Hu) and microbiology (Ding). Professor Ye is Co-I for the project contributing to WP1 (Management) and Prof Chen is lead for 2 work packages: WP3 Liquid Waste Valorisation and W9 Health Properties. Researchers at Zhejiang University contribute to WP2 (Solid Waste Valorization) and WP4 (Food Prototypes). Keracol Limited is a natural products SME, specialising in cosmetics. Researchers at Keracol contribute to project management (WP1) and to tasks related to extraction of bioactives from solid (WP2) and liquid (WP3) waste. It is responsible for exploitation of bioactives (WP6). Keracol has prepared material for testing in food prototypes (WP4) and packaging prototypes (WP5). Biopower Technologies Limited is an engineering SME, specialising in milling and micronisation technologies. Researchers in Biopower contribute to WP1, and lead WP2 (Solid waste valorisation) and exploitation of biopolymer powders. It has contributed materials for all technical packages. Parkside Flexibles Limited is an innovative food packaging company. Researchers in Parkside Flexibles are heavily involved in developing functionalized packaging (WP5) and commercial exploitation of the packaging material. Xiang Shan Hua Yu Limited is a canned mandarin manufacturer. They have been involved in developing and implementing the solid and liquid waste valorisation technologies at pilot scale, and have provided materials for all other partners and WP.
Impact Multi-partner peer reviewed publications: - Mao G, Wu D, Wei C, Tao W, Ye X, Linhardt RJ, Orfila C, Chen S. 2019. Reconsidering conventional and innovative methods for pectin extraction from fruit and vegetable waste: Targeting rhamnogalacturonan I. Trends in Food Science and Technology. 94, pp. 65-78 - Mao G, Li S, Shen X, Zhou S, Orfila C, Lindhardt RJ, Ye X, Chen S. 2019. Depolymerized RG-I enriched pectin from citrus segment membrane modulates gut microbiota, increases SCFAs production, promotes the growth of Bifidobacterium spp., Lactobacillus spp. and Faecalibaculum spp.. Food & Function. 10(12), pp. 7828-7843 - Li J, Li S, Zheng Y, Zhang H, Chen J, Yan L, Ding T, Linhardt RJ, Orfila C, Liu D, Ye X, Chen S. 2019. Fast preparation of rhamnogalacturonan I enriched low molecular weight pectic polysaccharide by ultrasonically accelerated metal-free Fenton reaction. Food Hydrocolloids. 95, pp. 551-561
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration agreement- Citrusafe 
Organisation Keracol Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The project outcomes will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team in both China and the UK. The team includes two UK SMEs working in different parts of the food sector: milling processing (Biopower Technologies) and food additives (Keracol Limited) and a packaging medium sized company specialising on food trays for the meat industry (Parkside Flexibles Limited). The companies will work together and with a Chinese food ingredients company (Xiang Shan Hua Yu Limited) to produce new products for the international market. The commercial process expertise will be complemented by academic expertise in Food Science and Nutrition provided by Zhejiang University and the University of Leeds.
Collaborator Contribution Zhejiang University is a research intensive University in Jiangsu Province, ranked 3rd in overall academic rankings, hosting the Fuli Centre for Food Innovation. Zhejiang University has academic expertise in food colloids and bioprocessing (Chen), process and post-harvest engineering (Ye, Liu), aquatic processing (Hu) and microbiology (Ding). Professor Ye is Co-I for the project contributing to WP1 (Management) and Prof Chen is lead for 2 work packages: WP3 Liquid Waste Valorisation and W9 Health Properties. Researchers at Zhejiang University contribute to WP2 (Solid Waste Valorization) and WP4 (Food Prototypes). Keracol Limited is a natural products SME, specialising in cosmetics. Researchers at Keracol contribute to project management (WP1) and to tasks related to extraction of bioactives from solid (WP2) and liquid (WP3) waste. It is responsible for exploitation of bioactives (WP6). Keracol has prepared material for testing in food prototypes (WP4) and packaging prototypes (WP5). Biopower Technologies Limited is an engineering SME, specialising in milling and micronisation technologies. Researchers in Biopower contribute to WP1, and lead WP2 (Solid waste valorisation) and exploitation of biopolymer powders. It has contributed materials for all technical packages. Parkside Flexibles Limited is an innovative food packaging company. Researchers in Parkside Flexibles are heavily involved in developing functionalized packaging (WP5) and commercial exploitation of the packaging material. Xiang Shan Hua Yu Limited is a canned mandarin manufacturer. They have been involved in developing and implementing the solid and liquid waste valorisation technologies at pilot scale, and have provided materials for all other partners and WP.
Impact Multi-partner peer reviewed publications: - Mao G, Wu D, Wei C, Tao W, Ye X, Linhardt RJ, Orfila C, Chen S. 2019. Reconsidering conventional and innovative methods for pectin extraction from fruit and vegetable waste: Targeting rhamnogalacturonan I. Trends in Food Science and Technology. 94, pp. 65-78 - Mao G, Li S, Shen X, Zhou S, Orfila C, Lindhardt RJ, Ye X, Chen S. 2019. Depolymerized RG-I enriched pectin from citrus segment membrane modulates gut microbiota, increases SCFAs production, promotes the growth of Bifidobacterium spp., Lactobacillus spp. and Faecalibaculum spp.. Food & Function. 10(12), pp. 7828-7843 - Li J, Li S, Zheng Y, Zhang H, Chen J, Yan L, Ding T, Linhardt RJ, Orfila C, Liu D, Ye X, Chen S. 2019. Fast preparation of rhamnogalacturonan I enriched low molecular weight pectic polysaccharide by ultrasonically accelerated metal-free Fenton reaction. Food Hydrocolloids. 95, pp. 551-561
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration agreement- Citrusafe 
Organisation Parkside Flexibles Europe Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The project outcomes will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team in both China and the UK. The team includes two UK SMEs working in different parts of the food sector: milling processing (Biopower Technologies) and food additives (Keracol Limited) and a packaging medium sized company specialising on food trays for the meat industry (Parkside Flexibles Limited). The companies will work together and with a Chinese food ingredients company (Xiang Shan Hua Yu Limited) to produce new products for the international market. The commercial process expertise will be complemented by academic expertise in Food Science and Nutrition provided by Zhejiang University and the University of Leeds.
Collaborator Contribution Zhejiang University is a research intensive University in Jiangsu Province, ranked 3rd in overall academic rankings, hosting the Fuli Centre for Food Innovation. Zhejiang University has academic expertise in food colloids and bioprocessing (Chen), process and post-harvest engineering (Ye, Liu), aquatic processing (Hu) and microbiology (Ding). Professor Ye is Co-I for the project contributing to WP1 (Management) and Prof Chen is lead for 2 work packages: WP3 Liquid Waste Valorisation and W9 Health Properties. Researchers at Zhejiang University contribute to WP2 (Solid Waste Valorization) and WP4 (Food Prototypes). Keracol Limited is a natural products SME, specialising in cosmetics. Researchers at Keracol contribute to project management (WP1) and to tasks related to extraction of bioactives from solid (WP2) and liquid (WP3) waste. It is responsible for exploitation of bioactives (WP6). Keracol has prepared material for testing in food prototypes (WP4) and packaging prototypes (WP5). Biopower Technologies Limited is an engineering SME, specialising in milling and micronisation technologies. Researchers in Biopower contribute to WP1, and lead WP2 (Solid waste valorisation) and exploitation of biopolymer powders. It has contributed materials for all technical packages. Parkside Flexibles Limited is an innovative food packaging company. Researchers in Parkside Flexibles are heavily involved in developing functionalized packaging (WP5) and commercial exploitation of the packaging material. Xiang Shan Hua Yu Limited is a canned mandarin manufacturer. They have been involved in developing and implementing the solid and liquid waste valorisation technologies at pilot scale, and have provided materials for all other partners and WP.
Impact Multi-partner peer reviewed publications: - Mao G, Wu D, Wei C, Tao W, Ye X, Linhardt RJ, Orfila C, Chen S. 2019. Reconsidering conventional and innovative methods for pectin extraction from fruit and vegetable waste: Targeting rhamnogalacturonan I. Trends in Food Science and Technology. 94, pp. 65-78 - Mao G, Li S, Shen X, Zhou S, Orfila C, Lindhardt RJ, Ye X, Chen S. 2019. Depolymerized RG-I enriched pectin from citrus segment membrane modulates gut microbiota, increases SCFAs production, promotes the growth of Bifidobacterium spp., Lactobacillus spp. and Faecalibaculum spp.. Food & Function. 10(12), pp. 7828-7843 - Li J, Li S, Zheng Y, Zhang H, Chen J, Yan L, Ding T, Linhardt RJ, Orfila C, Liu D, Ye X, Chen S. 2019. Fast preparation of rhamnogalacturonan I enriched low molecular weight pectic polysaccharide by ultrasonically accelerated metal-free Fenton reaction. Food Hydrocolloids. 95, pp. 551-561
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration agreement- Citrusafe 
Organisation Zhejiang University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The project outcomes will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team in both China and the UK. The team includes two UK SMEs working in different parts of the food sector: milling processing (Biopower Technologies) and food additives (Keracol Limited) and a packaging medium sized company specialising on food trays for the meat industry (Parkside Flexibles Limited). The companies will work together and with a Chinese food ingredients company (Xiang Shan Hua Yu Limited) to produce new products for the international market. The commercial process expertise will be complemented by academic expertise in Food Science and Nutrition provided by Zhejiang University and the University of Leeds.
Collaborator Contribution Zhejiang University is a research intensive University in Jiangsu Province, ranked 3rd in overall academic rankings, hosting the Fuli Centre for Food Innovation. Zhejiang University has academic expertise in food colloids and bioprocessing (Chen), process and post-harvest engineering (Ye, Liu), aquatic processing (Hu) and microbiology (Ding). Professor Ye is Co-I for the project contributing to WP1 (Management) and Prof Chen is lead for 2 work packages: WP3 Liquid Waste Valorisation and W9 Health Properties. Researchers at Zhejiang University contribute to WP2 (Solid Waste Valorization) and WP4 (Food Prototypes). Keracol Limited is a natural products SME, specialising in cosmetics. Researchers at Keracol contribute to project management (WP1) and to tasks related to extraction of bioactives from solid (WP2) and liquid (WP3) waste. It is responsible for exploitation of bioactives (WP6). Keracol has prepared material for testing in food prototypes (WP4) and packaging prototypes (WP5). Biopower Technologies Limited is an engineering SME, specialising in milling and micronisation technologies. Researchers in Biopower contribute to WP1, and lead WP2 (Solid waste valorisation) and exploitation of biopolymer powders. It has contributed materials for all technical packages. Parkside Flexibles Limited is an innovative food packaging company. Researchers in Parkside Flexibles are heavily involved in developing functionalized packaging (WP5) and commercial exploitation of the packaging material. Xiang Shan Hua Yu Limited is a canned mandarin manufacturer. They have been involved in developing and implementing the solid and liquid waste valorisation technologies at pilot scale, and have provided materials for all other partners and WP.
Impact Multi-partner peer reviewed publications: - Mao G, Wu D, Wei C, Tao W, Ye X, Linhardt RJ, Orfila C, Chen S. 2019. Reconsidering conventional and innovative methods for pectin extraction from fruit and vegetable waste: Targeting rhamnogalacturonan I. Trends in Food Science and Technology. 94, pp. 65-78 - Mao G, Li S, Shen X, Zhou S, Orfila C, Lindhardt RJ, Ye X, Chen S. 2019. Depolymerized RG-I enriched pectin from citrus segment membrane modulates gut microbiota, increases SCFAs production, promotes the growth of Bifidobacterium spp., Lactobacillus spp. and Faecalibaculum spp.. Food & Function. 10(12), pp. 7828-7843 - Li J, Li S, Zheng Y, Zhang H, Chen J, Yan L, Ding T, Linhardt RJ, Orfila C, Liu D, Ye X, Chen S. 2019. Fast preparation of rhamnogalacturonan I enriched low molecular weight pectic polysaccharide by ultrasonically accelerated metal-free Fenton reaction. Food Hydrocolloids. 95, pp. 551-561
Start Year 2019
 
Description Be Curious Festival - public engagement event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The 'Be Curious' Festival is an annual public engagement event run by the University of Leeds. Due to the covid-19 lockdown, the event was held online via a Twitter. The project contributed two activities: 1) a picture jigsaw and 2) a video podcast of how to use waste to make jellies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://universityofleeds.padlet.org/BeCurious/2020
 
Description Engagement in 'World Food Day' 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Profiles for researchers were created on the institutional webpage and shared on social media for World Food Day, 16th of October 2020.
The profiles generated considerable interest on social media, with analysis suggesting just over 100 interactions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/sustainable-food-research-spotlight/doc/turning-food-waste-high-valu...
 
Description Food Waste Technical Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact About one third of all food produced globally is wasted. In addition to economic loss, food waste poses an environmental hazard, polluting land and water resources. However, food loss is rich in valuable molecules that can be exploited across a number of consumer sectors for food, feed, packaging, cosmetic and pharmaceutical application.
As an example, the Citrusafe project aims to valorise waste from the Chinese mandarin canning industry by recovering high-value products that can be utilised by a range of industries.

The workshop aims to provide an overview of commercial opportunities for waste valorisation and a discussion of potential collaborative projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Medium article for the UN International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (2020) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A blog-style article was written, published in the online platform Medium, to celebrate 2021 as the UN International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. The blog details a personal journey of research into fundamental and applied plant sciences, and has a number of actionable insights relating to preventing food loss and waste.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://medium.com/globalfoodleeds/planting-the-seeds-for-a-personal-journey-of-fruits-and-vegetable...