Gastronomy is the art of food and a style of cooking from a particular region. In other words, local food and cuisine. Now add the concept of sustainability and you have local cuisine produced in a way that is good for the planet.
All these ideas together give us sustainable gastronomy, or a cuisine that takes into account where ingredients are from, how the food is grown, and how it gets to our markets and eventually to our plates. It’s such an important concept that the UN General Assembly adopted the concept and designated June 18th as the date to recognize it internationally.
The acknowledgment of this day reflects a lot—our growing awareness of the impact of our food choices on environmental health, but also the understanding and acceptance of gastronomy as an expression related to the cultural diversity of the world.
Here are the key concepts:
Cook with Respect
Prominent figures in the cooking world are using their popularity to urge consumers, businesses, and lawmakers to help reduce malnutrition in all its forms, cut food waste, improve nutrition, and support sustainable food distribution and preparation systems.
Make it a Personal Resolution Not to Waste Food
Estimates tell us that 1/3 of all the food produced in the world is either lost or wasted, amounting to 1.3 billion tons per year. And, food isn’t the only thing that’s wasted when it goes uneaten. All of the resources (seeds, water, feed, etc.), and money/labor that go into making it are also lost.
Our Part in Sustainable Gastronomy
- Support local farmers. Go to local food markets and buy from small producers of family farmers. By doing so you are supporting their livelihoods and strengthening local communities.
- Try local foods in your travels. Whether trying types of fish you have never heard of or fruits that you have never seen before, eating local products helps to give you a better insight into the culture of a place and supports local economies.
- Consider reducing foods that are less sustainable. We are all hearing more and more about the foods we choose and they impact they ultimately have on our planet. Consider trying more plant-based meals as we enter this great time of the year with so many plant options.
- Keep culinary traditions alive! Culinary traditions are generally sustainable by nature and remind us of our ancestral roots. Try cooking recipes that use ingredients native to your region. Pulses, for example, are easy to grow and extremely nutritious.
- Avoid food waste. While cooking, and even after your meal, be conscious to use all of your ingredients wisely and to save your leftovers. Being careful about portion size, expiration dates, and reuse of meals is one of the easiest ways to save natural resources.