What makes our food choices Sustainable?
Join Chef Michael Cokkinos on Thursday, April 26 at 1PM in Room A734 for answers about Sustainable Cuisine and a delicious tasting and demonstration.
Our choices and those of the retailers and wholesalers we buy from affect the
environment, the economy and everyone’s quality of life. I believe it is important to be aware of and concerned about where our food comes from and the impact it has on all of us.
By eating sustainably we can have a huge impact on the environment.
Small farms that produce a wide variety of crops allow for greater
biodiversity than do massive monocultures. By buying locally, we
lessen the environmental costs associated with the transportation of
food — costs such as increased air pollution, the use of fossil fuels,
and damage to roadways and the oceans. Refrigeration of food that
needs to be transported a long way uses energy and can involve the use of ozone-depleting gases that ultimately affect the whole planet. Excess packaging and processing of our foods also creates a strain on the environment.
Eating a plant based diet has a much lower impact than a high protein, meat diet.
When choosing fish and meat know your sources. If it was farmed, was it raised with an
appropriate vegetarian diet and according to environmentally sound methods? If wild, where
was it caught? How was it caught? Should it be caught, or protected because the species is
threatened? Does it have a high by catch percentage that adversely impacts other marine animals?
Similarly, we need to ask questions about where our meat comes from and how the animals
were raised and slaughtered. Livestock needs to be humanely treated, fed the purest natural feeds
(with no animal by products or waste), never given growth hormones or antibiotics,
and raised on land cared for as a sustainable resource.
Principles of Sustainability:
• Celebrate the joys of local, seasonal and
• Understand the source of the ingredients
— the way they have been grown, raised
• Support sustainable agriculture and
aquaculture, humane animal husbandry
practices and well-managed fisheries.
• Purchase from purveyors whose conservation
practices lessen our impact on the environment.
• Choosing sustainable food products is
about more than helping the environment.
It’s about sustaining the heritage
and the economy of whole communities.
Respecting local economies, traditions
and habitats are important parts of
participating in a sustainable food system.
• Cook seasonally; do not buy fruits and vegetables out of season.
• Always buy locally whenever possible and buy directly from the grower or from a source
as close as possible to where the product is grown.
• Join a CSA or work with a local farmer who will supply you with seasonal
produce of your choosing.
• Support farmers’ markets and farm stands.
• The next time you are in your supermarket talk to the produce manager.
Tell the manager of your concern about pesticides and let him or
her know you would prefer to buy local or regional produce and certified
organic food if possible.
• Ask your grocers and suppliers about the farms where the meat
and poultry they sell is raised and how it is raised. If they do not
know, ask them to find out. Support grocers and butchers who
get their supplies from farmers who do not use factory-farming techniques.
• Ask how the fish you buy is caught, either by using sustainable practices or by
practices damaging to the environment, and whether it is wild or farm raised.
• Learn which fish species are endangered from over fishing.
• Read labels; find out what ingredients or additives are in the food you are eating.
• Complete the cycle by composting and recycling.
• Educate yourself about food, understand the issues, and let your legislators know
how you feel about food management issues.
To learn much more: join the FIT CULINARY ARTS CLUB.
Checkout my blog, with comments from students, regarding the current sustainability initiatives of Kate Spade, Whole Foods, The Container Store, Falling Whistles, and Indego Africa.
Also, learn more about the natural dye work the Textile Arts Center is doing with the new Sewing Seeds / CSA dye garden project: http://textileartscenterblog.com/category/sewing-seeds/
FIT’s 6th Annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
The John Reeves Great Hall Seminar Rooms/Great Hall Stations
“Winds of Change: Making Our Mark on Sustainability”
The theme encompass the idea of action, change and movement – what’s happening now with best practices in business and beyond, and “the what could be” of the future (air pollution, energy issues, etc.)
8:15 – 9:00am Breakfast
9:00 – 9:15am Welcome – Sustainability Council: Conference program/schedule
9:15 -10:15am Colin Beavan – No Impact Man- Keynote Speaker – kick-off conference – “No Imact Man” who went off the grid and attempted to live in the middle of New York City with as little environmental impact as possible.
10:30-11:15am President’s Welcome and Remarks/President’s Panel: What’s Happening at FIT
11:30-12:30pm Deborah Johnson – Pratt- Keynote Speaker Pratt Sustainable Dorm Room project
12:30 –1:00pm Lunch Break
1:00 – 2:00pm Dr. Stephen Kellert – The Human Need for Nature, Biophilia, and Design – Keynote Speaker - Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies on biophillia and biophillic design – understanding the connection between nature and humanity with a particular interest in environmental conservation and sustainable design and development.
2:15 –3:00pm Lorraine Smith – sustainability consultant- Keynote Speaker – Focused on a life cycle approach to sustainability and supporting collaborative, learning-based initiatives.
3:15 – 4:15pm Dr. Maureen Clemmons – Keynote Speaker – Moving the pyramids with wind power
4:30 – 5:30pm Closing remarks and announcement of Concurrent Break-out Session
- Laura Siegel- Laura’s brand is a high end woman’s wear collection with a commitment to sustainable practices.
- Alix Davidson- NYC’s Regional Director of Green Festival® where individuals, business and community come together to discuss issues that impact us at home and abroad.
- Sustainable Interior Environments Graduate Program Students- “You are what you breathe! How much do you know about sustainable materials?”
- FIT Professor Karen Pearson and High School of Fashion faculty Dominic Cammarota -“Developing an Understanding of Sustainability by Example”
Maybe New York will be next? I guess this is up to us…
In the current issue of Yes! magazine I found wonderful and wise words of Jason F. McLennan, architect devoted to sustainable development, chief executive of the Cascadia Green Building Council and of the International Living Future Institute: “Each building, each project creates a ripple effect around it. It changes the way people think. When there are enough of these examples, then a sudden and large-scale shift will be possible. We can’t control the timing of major shifts in civilization, but we can increase the likelihood that a shift will occur.”
I will enter 2012 with hope and perseverance.
Best wishes for Holidays and for New Year!