July 4, 2017

FoodTalk | Upcycling – a radical approach to reduce global food waste (part 2)

by Cecil Cramer

Read ‘FoodTalk | Upcycling – a radical approach to reduce global food waste (part 1)’ here

Massimo Bottua’s mission is to bring about a reduction in food wastage and confront worldwide hunger issues. In the just released documentary ‘Wasted’, produced by celebrity chef and author, Anthony Bourdain, Bottura demonstrates how a humble food such as bread can be fully used in many ways: by grilling into a bruschetta on day two and grated for breadcrumbs on day three.

Among the many players in the Food Revolution, it is natural that some of the leaders of this initiative are those with direct ties to the industry. Chefs are demonstrating ways to revamp a current unsustainable system. With other well respected chefs and organizations participating – Alice Waters, Dan Barber, José Andrés, Jamie Oliver, Slow Food and here in Toronto, Second Harvest and Not Far From the Tree, to name just a few – the conversation around food waste is gaining momentum.

The problem is an immediate global concern. In fact, France established a law in 2015 banning disposal of unspoiled food. Prior to the law, some French supermarkets made a practice of pouring bleach on the food they threw out to prevent people from eating from the garbage. Under this new law, supermarkets must sign contracts promising to donate excess inventory or perishables to charities and food banks.

(photo credit: Angelo Dal Bo)

Recycling papers and cans has become an accepted part of modern Canadian life, but it only began in the 1980’s. Although it has taken approximately thirty years for recycling to become second nature, it has already had a positive impact on the environment.

Although the food revolution is still in its infancy, it has a long way to go before it gains wide public acceptance as recycling has. It is important to keep in mind that each step taken to increase awareness of food waste reduction, is contributing to the movement as a whole, and is helping to gather steam each and every day. As this issue becomes more pressing, it is hoped that scientific advances will assist in streamlining and implementing efficiencies in the fight to reduce global food wastage.

Recently, I visited a small farmers market 30 minutes before closing time. Most vendors had just a bit left or had sold out, which is always great to see. One young couple were packing up their stand as we began to talk. They told me this was only their second week at a Toronto market. They had recently taken over the family farm. And while I don’t recall their names, I will always remember what the husband told me; before leaving the city for the farm, he had been heavily involved in the areas of food security, small business start ups, farming initiatives and sat on a board or two. He told me that he and some others are talking about making Toronto the first city in the world to have zero food waste. This lofty goal is certainly a long term project, and one that’s bound to confront many obstacles before seeing tangible results, but then, isn’t that how every revolution begins?

FoodTalk – Thoughts on food and food issues from FoodReach’s lineup of passionate contributors.


About Cecil:

Cecil Cramer has worked in kitchens since starting as a dishwasher in his early teens. Over the last four years, he was the Executive Chef at Casa Loma in charge of special events. While in this position, he championed local farmers and independent food producers, prominently featuring them for most high profile events including a dinner in 2016 for Prime Minister Trudeau and Toronto Life’s 50th anniversary gala. Currently he teaches culinary skills at Centennial College and volunteers at the PARC community centre kitchen. By contributing articles and recipes to FoodReach, Cecil’s hope is to educate the public on how individual and community efforts can shape the future of food security.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed within this FoodTalk post belong solely to the original author/contributor. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of FoodReach, its staff, members or Board, its business partners, funders or other contributors.


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