Monday 20 October 2014

give a fork

Last week I attended the fantastic Give a Fork launch dinner hosted by Sustainable Table at the fantastic Studio Neon. This year's Give a Fork theme is #wastefree, and the dinner was an excellent (and delicious!) excuse to talk about shifting our food habits so we waste less food and food packaging. We were treated to a scrumptious meal cooked by eco-wise Aaron Teece, the owner of Studio Neon.

The table centre piece featured produce from Harris Farms' Imperfect Picks.
Guests were allowed to take home the produce at the end of the night!

Smoked Onion Risotto with Organic 62 degree hen egg. As a way to
make this a #wastefree dish the chef used the skin from the onion
to create the stock to cook the risotto. Clever!

Imperfect Orange dessert - I'm drooling again just recalling
this orange zest sponge cake served with orange rind puree,
Jannei goat's curd, and dehydrated orange. Heaven!

Why the emphasis on food waste? Well,
  • Australians throw away 1 out of every 5 bags of groceries they buy? That's 20% of our grocery budget right down the drain, about $1,036 per household. Ouch!
  • 20-40% of edible produce is rejected before it even makes it to the shops, because they don't meet our expectations of the 'perfect' piece of food. So it is wasted at the farm level.
  • Australians only recycle 36% of eligible plastic bottles, and globally we add 6.4 million tonnes of plastic into the ocean each year, a large proportion being food packaging.
This is the 'imperfect' produce I took home - I'm making eggplant parmesan
tonight, and last week that quirky potato made it into a soup and the asparagus
into a frittata.  Just because they look different doesn't mean they taste different!

Two Give a Fork ambassadors were on hand to share their personal experience - Take 3 Founder Tim Silverwood and writer Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar fame. We also heard from the effervescent Ronni Kahn, CEO and Founder of OzHarvest.

Good onya Tim! My hubby is a devout 'Take 3er', which
can easily turn into taking 4, or 5, or, you get the idea.

I didn't realise that the I Quit Sugar recipes also work
toward a waste free kitchen (or pretty darn close, anyway)

Aside from the speeches, we viewed a short documentary titled Waste Deep, which covered everything from the problems with plastic in our oceans (here are some stylish solutions to the current problem) to how we buy and cook our groceries.

This is all the waste that was generated from feeding 40 people - incredible.

* * * *

I left feeling inspired to host my own Give a Fork dinner - my hubby and I decided to tackle a low-food waste Thanksgiving meal next month - why don't you consider hosting one as well?  Sustainable Table has provided a free eBook talking you through easy ways you can reduce your food waste at a dinner party, and in your kitchen everyday.

Any money you raise goes directly to funding Sustainable Table and the great work they do in educating Australians on sustainable food practices, and working with projects in developing nations to ensure communities have a safe and ongoing provision of food. 

I'll be in touch with an update after Thanksgiving!


Thursday 9 October 2014

plastic fantastic

- I love plastic, I want to be plastic -
Andy Warhol

Well, I don't feel the same way as Andy Warhol, but it's fair to say I have a love-hate relationship with plastic. The convenience and safety aspects are hard to beat, but the environmental damage being done as this material infiltrates our land and oceans is beyond destructive. (You can find the shocking statistics at the end of this post).
This image is from the film Midway, a stunning (in terms of beauty
and shocking destruction) documentary about the island in the North Pacific
and the havoc being wreaked by plastic on its animal communities.

The situation is bleak, I don't want to sugar coat it, but there are things we can all do to improve the status quo. The rest of this post highlights some very clever and creative people out there who are doing their part to reclaim and recycle (and upcycle!) our plastic pollution into beautiful new products. Perhaps you'll be inspired to find yet another use for our used plastic.

What do you think of these solutions to our plastic problems?

G-Star Raw for the Oceans
The much-hyped range of G-Star, in collaboration with Pharrell Williams, has hit stores. This line of denim, tees and sweatshirts uses Bionic Yarn - created from plastic collected along the coastline - to divert plastic from the oceans and make a sturdy fabric.

As Pharrell and Bionic Yarn founder, Tyson Toussant, say, "Wear the responsibility for Big Blue."

I'm oh-so-proud to say I know one of the founders of this ingenious company that turns used fishing nets from Chile into new skate decks for everyone. (Special prize if you can guess which character he is in Sustainability with Style).

Bureo, which is the word for waves in the native Chilean language of Mapuche, completed a successful Kickstarter campaign this year. Between working with Chilean fishers, setting up a recycling and manufacturing facility, and telling the Bureo tale around the globe, this team has been busy! Thank goodness they have new boards to get around in style.

The Minnow is now available - order yours on their website -and take 30 square feet of nets out the ocean.


This is not the first time I've mentioned Teeki - and probably won't be the last. This activewear label pushes all the right buttons - recycles plastic into clothing, creates some of the hottest prints and designs I've ever seen on yoga pants, uses Zero Waste printing technology, and celebrates health, the environment and self-love.

Thank you Teeki!

* * * *

So now there is even more you can do to help with our global plastic problem. In addition to saying no to plastic bags, using a refillable water bottle and recycling all your household plastic, now you can also take some of that plastic back out of the oceans and landfill with some eco-conscious choices. And maybe just make plastic fantastic, again.

* * * *

Why is it a love-hate relationship with plastic?

I love my lipstick tubes. I love the convenience of my click-and-seal food containers. I love the sleekness of my computer-mouse. I know this shiny, flexible material has made our lives safer through medical supplies. Once you start looking around, you can see how much plastic is part of our daily lives and instances where it has, in fact, improved our way of life.

But our reliance on this petrochemical-based material has gone too far. And I hate the environmental damage caused by our irresponsible use of plastic.  Just a few stats:
Between convenience packaging, poor recycling rates, and fishing lines and nets being discarded, plastic has taken over our land and our water, and it's impacted us all. So please, start taking action today.