At the Dialog “Closing the loop in the gastronomic sector” we discussed what consumers and professionals can do to contribute to a more sustainable gastronomic sector. We looked at practical examples from Kaffeeform, Isla Coffee Berlin, Mealsaver, Food Assembly Germany, and a chef and sustainability expert.
Analyse your company, from produce to waste, to see what can be optimized. Allow yourself to be critical towards your own approaches. Choose to optimize in places where it is easy and doable for you. Be enthusiastic about it, but acknowledge that it takes time and effort, but will be worth it in the long run. Working with coffee? Why not use leftover milk foam to make ricotta instead of throwing it in the sink, just as Isla Coffee does.
It’s easy to take the easy way out, but it is more fun to be creative. Chefs are naturally creative and want to explore the possibilities of food, that’s the essence of coming up with ideas and making dishes. Go that extra mile, make it a fun exercise for yourself and cook dishes from food scraps you would normally throw away. Try it out and see how far you can get. Remember to compost at the very end if there is still something left.
Make a choice, either say that the food is made from waste and create a narrative around it, or don’t mention it but make it a natural component in your work. Communication is key to making people more aware, so the more interesting you make it, the more people will get intrigued. Some people will opt for using food waste because of economic reasons, but they can also be made aware of the ecological benefits.
If you work collectively with other people who are interested in your food waste, you naturally cut out extra logistic steps within your company. Also work together with your local community, local farmers and local businesses. Make everybody part of the change you want to make, extend your know-how and share ideas. Invite people to workshops, tell others what you do that works well.
Look your local farmer in the eye, tell him what you need and you will get just that. Not only can the local farmers provide you with the ingredients you are looking for, they will ensure high quality and cut out extra costs. You can even bring in the farmers to communicate your narratives to your consumers to make it more tangible, and by doing so develop a closer relationship to the food. There is a barrier in how farmers are perceived. When people leave small towns for the metropolises, there is a tendency to lose the connection to food and understanding of life outside of the city. Farming is one of the most important jobs, after farmers know how to provide us with food, and we all need to eat. Show politicians that farmers need to be supported through fair pricing and give farmers the security that you will buy their produce throughout the year.
Consider ways of using your scraps. There are many innovative and traditional tools that can help to extend the lifespan of food. It is not only about eating what you have on the plate, but also about what one can do with the rest and how one can prolong the lifespan of foods and even come up with other solutions that go outside of the food chain. Explore old-school methods such as fermentation or preservation with salt. Try it out and create new perceptions and meanings about waste.