Leather Storrs: The Undeniable Politics of Food
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Last week on the radio show I co-host, our guest was William Rosenzweig, the founder of both “The Republic of Tea” (credited with pioneering the specialty tea movement) and The Food Business School at The Culinary Institute of America. During our interview, Rosenzweig articulated a remarkable philosophy: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is critical to the success of a culinary venture. We have advanced as a culture to a point where consumers demand a commitment to sustainability, carbon awareness and work place transparency. Whoa!
On a very small scale I agree whole heartedly. My restaurant has a garden on the roof that supplies a significant amount of our produce (40-50% in July, August and September). People always ask about how much money we save by growing our own vegetables and my answer is always the same: “The calculus of our garden is a tricky thing." Mostly it’s because I like to pretend I understand calculus. But honestly, the math is made foggy by the fact that the garden does many things that can’t be monetized.
Regardless of the moves that corporations make, remember, you are the agents of change. Endorse, with your dollars, producers and products that are committed to sustainability. Making this commitment will cost you more money. Do it anyway. Say no to hormones, antibiotics, dyes, chemicals and ridiculous packaging. Buy less meat and move it away from the center of the plate. Use meat as a garnish rather than an organizing principal and know where your protein comes from. Experiment with lesser cuts, like the magical pork shoulder. Buy local foods from growers that practice smaller footprint, chemical free farming. Grow something! It’s an extraordinary and engaging process. And finally consider this: The next time the arches beckon, drive past, not thru.
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