As part of Good Food Month this October, we the masses are being asked to give 'a fork. Sustainable Table - a young and innovative not-for-profit organisation from Melbourne - uses food to explore sustainability issues, like seafood last year. This year, they're asking people to 'Give a Fork!' about waste, particularly food waste.
The 'Give a Fork!' campaign encourages us all to think about the environmental impacts of our groceries choices - how we shop with our eyes and not our tastebuds, or brains really - and how we can each wholly use the produce we use in our cooking (think off-cuts, carrot tops, onion peel etc).
|Shopping with your tastebuds and picking visually imperfect produce provided by Harris Farm Markets featured at Sustainable Table dinner for Give a Fork launch, 14 October 2014, Studio Neon, Waterloo|
This is costing the average Australian around $1,000 annually, which translates to around $8 billion worth of edible food that is thrown out each year throughout the country.
When we throw away food, the food rots with other waste in landfill and produces methane - the potent greenhouse gas that is much worse than the typical carbon pollution we all experience on our roads.
|Dining space at studio NEON, Raglan Street, Waterloo|
The goal of the night for chef Aaron Teece was to create a multi-course meal using produce supplied only earlier in the night and to create a meal with minimal to zero waste.
|Cassie Duncan of Sustainable Table|
Cassie and her Sustainable Table team partner with restaurants across Melbourne and Sydney to help raise awareness of the food and packaging waste issue through the Give a Fork campaign.
|Carrot with organic yoghurt and black olive crumb|
|Baba ganoush, dukkah, crispy skin on crackers|
|Smoked onion risotto with organic 62 degree hen egg|
The dish was then garnished with a host of different herbs donated by OzHarvest from their kitchen garden in Alexandria, as well as leftover onion skin not used in the stock which was dehydrated, powdered and graciously strewn over the risotto.
|Launch of 'Give a Fork' Campaign Dinner|
She shared some tips on making full use of the produce we buy, including freezing onion skins with other vegetable off-cuts in a zip-lock bag and using the bits later on to enhance any base stocks with a simple, nutritional and flavoursome boost.
|Tim Silverwood of Take 3, Campaign Ambassador|
Tim also reflected that waste is often tied with what we consume and how we consume; reiterating a number of the earlier messages around how we can improve the way we consume the produce we buy.
|Imperfect orange dessert|
The dessert plate comprised orange zest sponge, orange rind purée and Janni goat's curd. The notion of making use of the whole fruit extended to the use of the orange pits which were water soaked, dried, powdered and made into a slightly bitter garnish, cleverly balancing the sweetness of the sponge and tanginess of the curd.
|The meagre residual waste from the dinner service|
Reflecting on the night, the 'Give a Fork!' campaign made me ask what we can each really do to help tackle the food and packaging waste issue. Sustainable Table have shared a few ideas:
- Plan ahead and plan better, being mindful of what we are using and what we are throwing out;
- Start a compost bin to generate some fertiliser that can be re-used to grow your own produce;
- Get involved with the 'Give a Fork' campaign and get your friends, families or colleagues together to organise and host a 'Give a Fork!' themed, waste-free dinner (or lunch or brunch), and raise awareness and funds for Sustainable Table; or
- Give a fork at participating local Sydney restaurants through their #wastefree 'Give a Fork!' specials offered at those restaurants.
Food, Booze & Shoes attended the launch of the 'Give a Fork' campaign as a guest, with thanks to New Future PR.