I’m very proud to be nominated as a Positive Change Hero at the Foodism 100 awards this January. The Positive Change Hero award, recognises individuals working in any sector of sustainable and ethical food and drink whose commitment to their work is driving the movement forward. I was interviewed for the award video, and have shared my answers below.
*Why is effecting positive change through sustainability and social and ethical initiatives so important to the food and drinks industry?
Food production is the largest contributing factor towards climate change. The way we eat has a complex and profound impact on every aspect of life. Participating in the sustainable revolution and creating positive change is necessary for the survival of any modern business. Customers want it and will choose a more ethical business whenever they can.
Even our own actions can create positive change, from supporting small farmers and the local ecology to conservation companies, protecting huge land masses from biodiversity loss. However as a business, that impact is multiplied by many thousands of times, as we cook up and distribute meals each day.
*What steps are you taking to erect positive change?
Everything I do is focused on creating a fairer food system to help support social equality and the environment our main life-support system.
In 2011 I started a social enterprise called the Forgotten Feast highlighting different issues in the food industry from food waste to fishing, celebrating the solutions through dining and events. My restaurant Poco in Bristol started the same year as the Forgotten Feast. Not wanting to wain on my morals we applied the same philosophy onto the restaurant making sustainability our main priority.
In response to climate change and the global food waste scandal I’ve developed a sustainable philosophy and framework called Root to Fruit Eating which I practice in my everyday life, my food writing and consultancy. Like nose to tail Root to Fruit Eating means to value food in its entirety, wasting nothing. It’s a type of conscious cookery that aims to support the environment and the people involved in the production of our food for no extra cost. A way of life that applies equally to the home cook and the industrial caterer.
*Why are you passionate about improving the industry?
I’m passionate about improving the food-industry because I care about our planet and the happiness of future generations. I want to help improve our future in every way I can. Through working with food waste I’ve realised how tangible these issues can be and how we can all affect change through our actions whenever we have energy.
*What sort of impact can food and drink businesses have on the planet, socially and environmentally, through these initiatives?
Any positive actions we can take as an industry will have a powerful impact on the environment. For example reducing and redistributing our food waste prevents greenhouse gas emissions and possible pollution from its disposal, it feeds people who might of otherwise not had access to food, and saves all of the energy that went into producing that food from water, fuel, and pesticides to the ecology of the soil itself. A precious resource with the depletion of arable land through industrial agriculture.
Buying Fairtrade commodities such as coffee, sugar, tea and chocolate can help people around the world that have become exploited through a faceless food system where we have little connection with the origin of our food. Providing where possible infrastructure from schools to community projects, and fair incomes for workers and their families.
*What are your thoughts on the Foodism 100 initiative. *What do you hope the Foodism 100 achieves in the short term and in the longer term?
The Foodism 100 initiative is a sign of our times, sustainability is now mainstream. People and business is changing for the better.
We are witnessing a huge shift in environmental awareness as people’s knowledge of climate change and our impact on the planet becomes more prevalent. This knowledge is powerful and is driving positive change. Good and sustainable business practice deserves credit. Who better than Foodism, London’s most widely distributed and free food magazine to give this credit where it’s due.
I hope Foodism 100 will encourage more people and businesses to adopt and understand the benefits of sustainable practices not just for the good business sense but the compassionate benefits it brings.