Friday, October 24, 2014

Sustainable Table launches Give a Fork campaign

Posted by Hendy

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
And why we should give a fork? Australians, on average, discard up to 20% of the food they purchase, amounting to around one out of every five bags of groceries we buy ending up as landfill.

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
To start the discussion on the major environmental issues of food and packaging waste, Sustainable Table hosted a simple, minimal waste dinner at the eccentric, eclectic warehouse dining venue, Studio Neon in 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
To kick off the night co-founder and general manager of Sustainable Table, Cassie Duncan, was joined by the equally passionate Ronni Kahn, founder of OzHarvest.

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
The dinner showcased a number of dishes that make the best use of the produce available on the night. The pre dinner canapés were simple and made full use of a handful of ingredients, namely roasted heirloom carrots and a bread crumb of olives.

Baba ganoush, dukkah, crispy skin on crackers
The second set of canapés that followed made full use of eggplants. The soft. mushy flesh of the eggplants was used with onion and garlic to make the traditional eastern Mediterranean baba ganoush dip, served on a small cracker topped with nutty dukkah and a crumble of eggplant skin, crisply dried.

Smoked onion risotto with organic 62 degree hen egg
The main course for the night was risotto made with a stunning smoked onion base stock, which made use of whole onions including the onion skin. The risotto was complemented with a soft and delicate organic 62 degree 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
The former journalist, now blogger, media personality, wellness coach and Give a Fork ambassador Sarah Wilson spoke about the different ways each of us can help to reduce food waste.

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
We also heard from Tim Silverwood, another Give a Fork! campaign ambassador and co-founder of the Take 3 not-for-profit organisation. He spoke about how we all can play a part in reducing beach waste by picking up three waste items each time we visit the beach and being mindful of our use of disposable plastics.

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
Capping off the night was the dessert which was aptly named, imperfect orange. Making use of what is termed as second grade oranges - oranges that might not look their best on the outside yet taste equally as amazing as those that do look perfect on the outside.

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
The night ended with Cassie presenting to the dinner the residual waste from the dinner service. What was left was a few egg cartons and the used vegetables from the stock - both of which can be re-used again.

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:
  1. Plan ahead and plan better, being mindful of what we are using and what we are throwing out;
  2. Start a compost bin to generate some fertiliser that can be re-used to grow your own produce;
  3. 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
  4. Give a fork at participating local Sydney restaurants through their #wastefree 'Give a Fork!' specials offered at those restaurants.
Given the seriousness of the issue at hand, we can all play a part and make the decision to 'Give a Fork!' See the Give a Fork website for more information and our Facebook page for more photos of the dinner.

Food, Booze & Shoes attended the launch of the 'Give a Fork' campaign as a guest, with thanks to New Future PR.

2 comments:

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Sounds like a fab event. Love the look of those carrots!

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