Friday, April 10, 2009

What is Sustainability ?

Last week at IACP the topic of one of the keynote sessions was sustainability. Dan Barber, whose restaurant in New York city relies completely on organic foods produced by local farmers, stated that good natural systems are actually very simple. He spent most of his time talking about fois gras (a touchy subject these days) He traveled to Frane to spend time with a goose farmer who doesn't force feed his geese but rather treats them gently and feeds them differently to fatten their livers just before they are killed. He said that we tend to "take more, sell more and waste more" and the we need to look to nature for solutions.

Walter Robb, the CEO of Whole Foods, discussed Whole Foods approach to making "natural, organic" food available to all. One definition of sustainability is "to develop and fulfill the needs of the present without compromising the environment". Whole Foods are looking for simple, healthy, fresh, clean and local sources. Everything depends on the interaction of the customer, chef, seller and farmer.

I am in favor of using organic foods and local foods but don't think this is a way we can feed our population or the starving millions. In MN is it is impossible to rely completely on local foods because our growing season is short. We need to find creative solutions.

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