A Chef's Role in Sustainable Initiatives
It's great to have an opportunity to discuss the diminishing quality of our food sources and a chef's integral role in supporting sustainable foodways. As well-informed spokespeople about the crucial issues impacting our safe food sources, chefs can and should play an important role in conveying the problems to the local and global community and devise ways to collaborate on solutions.
I began working Greece 11 years ago on educational programs that linked visitors with traditional chefs, bakers, fishers, shepherds-cheesemakers, organic farmers, olive oil and wine producers. They share their invaluable knowledge about centuries-old sustainable living practices, their culture and excellent cuisine. In return, we pay our teachers well for their time and expertise. We benefit from a great learning experience and our teachers benefit from our support to carry on their traditional trades that are fast disappearing. Back in 1998, we did not call our work *green* but considered it to be common sense.
By linking the global community with local communities that are actively involved in sustainable living practices -- including organic agriculture and sustainable tourism, chefs have a unique opportunity to present big-picture issues and work together on solutions. The key is to provide concrete support to the people dedicated to providing us with good, safe food. They can teach us invaluable lessons about protecting and celebrating our cultural and natural heritage. So why are so many farmers-artisan food producers still struggling? We need to find better ways to make sure they always get the support they need.