Holy inspiring event, Batman! Last Tuesday, our community, some of our partners and their communities came together to learn, share, connect, inspire, collaborate, and eat…oh, did we eat! But of course—food always brings people together, and our March event was particularly on point. THANK YOU to amazing chef Lukas Scherler for an absolutely incredible spread! 

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“Behind the Scenes: Food & Sustainability” was a popular subject. Gauging from the number of attendees, I’d say they were eating it up. Sorry—couldn’t resist the pun!

Local organisations and businesses focused on some aspect of this much-loved topic came together for a night of impact.

But we weren’t there to discuss just any aspect of food…we were there to discuss the challenges with food. Let’s face it—food has issues, my friends. An incredible amount gets wasted, yet people in the world go hungry. We harm the environment and animals. We devastate ecosystems. Wow…maybe a more accurate statement would be to say that people have issues. The food is fine!

Addressing these issues is no small task. But thankfully, we in Basel are lucky enough to be surrounded by some innovative change-makers regarding food. At the event, participants learned not only about food’s challenges, but perhaps more importantly, easy, attainable solutions.

So, let’s meet these Food Super Heroes!

2018marchpic13After an informative presentation about the need for diversity in our food production (among other things), given by Markus Hurschler from Foodways Consulting, we separated into groups and circulated to the six different stations.

My first stop was Mark + Bein, a new restaurant opening soon near Markthalle by Markus Hurschler and Matthias Haller. These guys love meat! And they want to offer local, sustainable options for carnivores. This is sure to be a delicious hot-spot in the near future.

 

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At Station Two we heard from Sebastian Freyse and Manuela Geprägs from foodsharing Basel. To prevent food waste, activists fetch food from large and small distributors, farms and restaurateurs and make them available to the whole community in so-called “fair dividers” or food baskets. There are six in Basel, and anyone can drop off or take food. There is also an online community for posting your own personal food baskets. Participants have found themselves saving more than just food…cha-ching!

 

ZWB imageStation Three tackled another kind of waste—that of packaging, and the fact that so much of our food comes with an excess of it. By now we’ve all heard of the serious harm plastic is having on the planet, so what to do? Carole Shanté and Samina Gordita from Zero Waste Basel was joined by Nathalie Reinau and Chris Mani from Basel Unverpackt to provide easy solutions each of us can adopt, from where to shop package-free, to providing ways of being zero-waste on the go. By bringing a few reusables with you, you can prevent paper coffee cups, plastic water bottles, plastic ‘disposable’ cutlery and single-use bags from ever entering the waste stream. The solutions are many, the ideas plentiful!

 

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Perhaps you’ve noticed that Switzerland has…a few farms…! But did you also know there are farms right in the city of Basel? Talk about eating local! Tilla Künzli from Urban Agriculture Basel and Esther Lohri from LOKAL explained how you can achieve sustainability by purchasing locally produced food. Or maybe you want to learn how to grow your own vegetables (rather than kill them!)? Grab your sun hat and head to one of their many locations and workshops…

 

 

2018marchpic12David Jucker from Stadtpilze showed us an example of “closing the loop.” By upcycling coffee grounds from local restaurants (which would likely be thrown away, or perhaps composted), he then uses them to grow high-quality mushrooms, which are then sold locally to stores and restaurants. The growing methods, too, are designed to be zero-waste, which is one of their core values.

 

 

2018marchpic11And lastly, social-entrepreneur Michael Tuil from Direct Coffee greeted us at Station Six. Coffee is one of the adored-by-many foods that, unfortunately, has a lot of issues. He and his wife sought to solve those challenges when they created their values-based business. They wanted to give customers an excellent cup of coffee, while ensuring the growers and the community back in Ethiopia thrive as well.

 

 

Thanks to all of you who joined us for this wonderful evening. I hope you walked away with at least a few ideas to incorporate into your daily life. I know I did. And it feels good to be part of the solution.

Which leads me to our partners—thanks for leading the way with your work, and for joining us for an exciting evening of impact-creation. Together, we truly did inspire and create change. Hmmm…that’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Carrie Aikman