Chefs could be the missing ingredient to circular food systems

June 22, 2020 by  
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Chefs could be the missing ingredient to circular food systems Lauren Phipps Mon, 06/22/2020 – 01:00 It’s often said that the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach. The same principle could apply to fixing the broken food system.  Food loss and waste, the carbon-intensive production and distribution of food, hunger and food deserts: These are just a few inefficient and unequal outcomes of today’s global food system. The principles of a circular economy offer a helpful framework to envision a more resilient and regenerative alternative — and chefs might be the missing ingredient to successfully realizing a new model.  “When you talk about biodiversity and conservation, there is no value,” said prominent Brazilian chef Alex Atala, who runs the world-renowned restaurant D.O.M. in São Paulo. “When you taste biodiversity, there’s a new meaning and new value.”  Atala was one of four chefs tuning in from around the world who spoke about cultivating a circular economy for food during the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Big Food Workshop last week. According to these culinary leaders, we have to start with the food itself: the ingredients; the preparation; and the flavor.  Biodiversity, conservation and a shift towards regenerative agriculture is just one piece of a holistic vision for a better food system. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation breaks down circular food systems into three, bite-sized pieces in the report ” Cities and Circular Economy for Food “: Food production that improves rather than degrades the environment; ingredients kept at their highest value and cycled through the biological system; and people that have access to healthy and nutritious food.  It’s not enough to ask people to put something on the plate because it’s the right thing to do. We want people to enjoy it. The report’s analysis suggests that a successful shift not only would benefit the climate and communities, it also would generate $2.7 trillion in annual benefits by 2050. And chefs will play a vital role in driving this transformation.  Chef Kim Wejendorp knows a thing or two about food waste — or in his case, the inventive use of every ounce of an ingredient. Head of R&D at Amass Restaurant in Copenhagen, known for its fine dining and zero-waste kitchen, Wejendorp believes “it’s a matter of deriving flavor from otherwise byproducts or what would be considered waste in commercial kitchens. It’s not enough to ask people to put something on the plate because it’s the right thing to do. We want people to enjoy it. We want people to come back to these ingredients as things with their own intrinsic value.”  Wejendorp recognizes the impact of each ingredient, and the responsibility of the chef — in commercial and home kitchens — to actively avoid waste where possible. “Anybody looking down at a cutting board that’s about to sweep whatever they’ve got leftover in the bin, stop and ask yourself, ‘Have you done enough with what you have there to pay respect to the amount of work and effort and resources it took to get those ingredients in front of you in the first place?’” South African chef and writer Mokgadi Itsweng champions indigenous foods in future food systems. “We’re suffering from malnutrition … social diseases like diabetes, all these things that our great-grandparents never suffered from. The reason being, they ate a lot of the indigenous ingredients.” An unintended impact of urbanization in South Africa is shifting relationships with food. “When people move to cities, indigenous food knowledge is destroyed,” Itsweng said. Itsweng described the indigenous foods that she grew up eating such as sorghum, millet and amaranth. “I’m bringing them back into people’s kitchens. … With climate change, COVID and food insecurity, we need those nutrient-dense foods back on our plates.”  To revive indigenous food systems and cultures, Itsweng has one simple piece of advice: “Speak to your grandmother.” The foods and cooking methods used for generations can inform today’s efforts to improve the food system, and elders are an unparalleled resource to help communities relearn how to eat sustainably.  A well-known figure in the U.S. farm-to-table movement, Dan Barber has long advocated to support local farms and farmers. Author of “The Third Plate” and chef and co-owner of restaurants Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Barber reflected on the shifting trajectory of food culture in the United States. “When I opened Blue Hill in very progressive New York City, I had to have foie gras, caviar, lobster — I had to have those ingredients on my menu. Fast-forward 20 years, those ingredients on my menu make me look old and outdated and anachronistic.” The plates have shifted. I love the Toni Cade Bambara quote, “The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible.” When it comes to the art of flavor and sustenance, this responsibility is no different. The role of the chef is to make a regenerative, circular food system tempting and delicious. To drive systems change through the allure of a perfectly prepared carrot rather than the threat of a stick.  “We as chefs are the strongest voice in the food chain in this moment,” Atala concluded. “We have a power, a power to transform a forgotten, an unknown, an undervalued ingredient into a sexy ingredient. Let’s use this power. Let’s feed people with love and maybe food can be a way to express it.” Pull Quote It’s not enough to ask people to put something on the plate because it’s the right thing to do. We want people to enjoy it. Topics Circular Economy Food Systems Food Waste Featured Column In the Loop Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Chefs could be the missing ingredient to circular food systems

A decade of covering the intersection of sustainability, careers and human resources

January 10, 2020 by  
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What’s changed in the 10 years headhunter Ellen Weinreb has been writing for GreenBiz.

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A decade of covering the intersection of sustainability, careers and human resources

A decade of covering the intersection of sustainability, careers and human resources

January 10, 2020 by  
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What’s changed in the 10 years headhunter Ellen Weinreb has been writing for GreenBiz.

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A decade of covering the intersection of sustainability, careers and human resources

Why stakeholders are raising the pressure on US business leaders to address climate

January 10, 2020 by  
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EDF released its annual survey of perceptions of environmental impact from 600 business leaders in retail, manufacturing, energy, technology and finance.

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Why stakeholders are raising the pressure on US business leaders to address climate

5 priorities to ensure climate action benefits low-income and disadvantaged groups

January 10, 2020 by  
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We can’t leave anyone behind as we transition to a clean economy.

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5 priorities to ensure climate action benefits low-income and disadvantaged groups

Episode 177: Sounding off at Circularity 19

June 21, 2019 by  
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Highlights from keynotes by Google’s Kate Brandt, Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s Andrew Morlet, and Cradle to Cradle co-founder Bill McDonough. Plus, on-the-spot interviews with UL engineer Bill Hoffman, General Motors materials guru Lauren Smith and World Wildlife Fund research Erin Simon.

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Episode 177: Sounding off at Circularity 19

100% electric passenger, vehicle and cargo ferry could help decarbonize sea travel

May 29, 2018 by  
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Many ferries are powered by polluting diesel, but the European Union-funded E-ferry could offer a cleaner alternative: a medium-sized ferry able to transport trucks, cars, passengers and cargo with zero greenhouse gas emissions. While this isn’t the first zero-emission ferry, the team behind the project says the new ferry will be able to cover longer distances — traveling 22 nautical miles between charges. E-ferry’s goal is to “apply an extremely energy efficient design concept and demonstrate a 100 percent electric , emission-free, medium-sized ferry” able to travel without polluting, according to the project website. The European Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) announced the project will be soon set sail and operate in the Baltic Sea to connect the island of Ærø to the Denmark mainland. The ferry, dubbed Ellen, will travel the Søby-Fynshav and Søby-Faaborg routes, which are 10.7 and 9.6 nautical miles, respectively. Related: 173 countries agree to slash shipping industry emissions in historic deal Ellen could be equipped with “the largest battery pack ever installed in a vessel,” according to the project website, and boasts a battery capacity of 4.3 megawatt-hours. The website says , “The peak charging power of the E-ferry battery pack and its shore charging connection will be up to four megawatts.” The vessel will have two 750 kilowatt (kW) propulsion motors and two 250 kW thruster motors. It can carry 31 cars or five trucks, and 147 passengers in the winter and 198 in the summer. It will weigh around 650 tons. The E-ferry will be built with what the team described as new lightweight materials: “different kinds of carbon composites” as well as more traditional aluminum materials. The team aims for 10 or more E-ferries operating by 2020, and 100 or more by 2030 to save 10,000 to 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year by 2020 and 100,000 to 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide yearly by 2030. E-ferry is supported by the Horizon 2020 initiative. + E-ferry + CORDIS Image via Depositphotos

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100% electric passenger, vehicle and cargo ferry could help decarbonize sea travel

Scientists uncover giant canyons under the ice in Antarctica

May 29, 2018 by  
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Researchers have discovered three large canyons frozen beneath the ice of Antarctica , each of which is hundreds of kilometers in length. The canyons, which move through tall mountains that lie beneath the snowy surface of the southernmost continent, were discovered through radar and may serve a key function in Antarctic ice flow. “These troughs channelize ice from the center of the continent, taking it toward the coast,” study co-author Kate Winter told the BBC . “Therefore, if climate conditions change in Antarctica, we might expect the ice in these troughs to flow a lot faster toward the sea. That makes them really important, and we simply didn’t know they existed before now.” The three canyons are the Patuxent Trough, the Offset Rift Basin and the Foundation Trough, the largest of the three, which is more than 350 kilometers long and 35 kilometers wide. The bottom of the Foundation Trough is buried beneath two kilometers of ice. All three canyons are located beneath and across the high ice ridge known as the ice divide that runs from the South Pole toward West Australia. This divide is similar to other continental divides, such as those found in North America , in which water, or ice, flows toward different bodies of water based on which side of the divide it falls. Related: Scientists dash to explore Antarctic ecosystem hidden by ice for 120,000 years These newly-discovered canyons have altered scientists’ understanding of Antarctica’s future in a warming climate . “People had called this area a bottleneck,” study co-author Tom Jordan said . “The thought was that if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to collapse, then ice could flood out from the east. But the mountains we’ve found effectively put a plug in that bottleneck.” The data, much of which was unobtainable through satellite imagery, was gathered using radar and sensors attached to planes that surveyed the continent from above. “Remarkably, the South Pole region is one of the least understood frontiers in the whole of Antarctica,” researcher Fausto Ferraccioli said. “Our new aerogeophysical data will … enable new research into the geological processes that created the mountains and basins before the Antarctic ice sheet itself was born.” + PolarGAP Project Via BBC Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Scientists uncover giant canyons under the ice in Antarctica

The circular economy keeps innovation in play

January 8, 2018 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: Dame Ellen MacArthur discusses how the circular economy is transforming businesses.

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The circular economy keeps innovation in play

Stella McCartney’s new campaign trims textile waste

November 29, 2017 by  
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The fashion designer teams up with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to call for bold action on throwaway fashion.

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Stella McCartney’s new campaign trims textile waste

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