June 18th is World Sustainable Gastronomy Day – A day that emphasizes the need to focus the world’s attention on the role that we play in reducing our carbon footprint by closing the Earth’s carrying capacity gap through healthy and sustainable food practices.
The UN originated this day to acknowledge how reducing food waste, increasing plant-based diets, and growing locally can achieve sustainable development by promoting:
- agricultural development
- food security
- sustainable food production
- conservation of biodiversity
BCIT, in partnership with Simon Fraser University (SFU), Vancouver Island University (VIU), and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) launched the Nourishing Innovation: Campus Nutrition and Food Security Contest. This contest was open to all current students at SFU, BCIT, UNBC, and VIU to develop innovative solutions to enable equitable access to nutritious, sustainable, and culturally sensitive food for all students on campus.
Four teams from BCIT have advanced to the next phase of the contest where they will pitch their solutions online June 28th.
- Fresh Food for All
- Guardians of Ghrelin
- Tatti Food Team
- The Garden Buddies
Check out their video contest entries. The winning solution (or combination of the winning solution plus runner-ups) will be implemented at the partner institutions in Fall 2021.
Food and food waste make up a large proportion of an average North American city’s ecological footprint. Based on the research from the ecoCity Footprint Tool, it amounts to 48% of our carbon footprint and 25% of our consumption here in BC.
Food waste occurs from the very beginning when the crop is harvested, to when its prepared and put on our tables, and beyond. Agriculture is a large contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are the main driver of climate change. Today’s industrial agricultural practices engage fossil fuels, in the form of fertilizers, chemicals in that exacerbate climate change. We also have to factor in packing and distribution of our food which heavily contributes to increased carbon emissions. Sustainable gastronomy is exactly the kind of practice we can enact to reach EcoCity standards for sustainable development.
Reducing food waste is one of the biggest ways we can reduce our ecological footprint and greenhouse gas footprint in a city. The ecoCity Footprint Tool and Lighter Footprint App (both currently being piloted in 10 BC municipalities) can help provide data so that cities can identify priorities for acting on climate change and unsustainable resource consumption to create actions for reduction.
BCIT is also taking action to help promote sustainable food practices that benefit the environment through various projects and partnerships such as: Elevated Labs which involves a collaboration with the head chefs of BCIT campus who are growing fresh produce and herbs on our green rooftops and working with the School of Transportation and Grounds to bring honey bee hives to campus, adding to the ongoing efforts to support healthy pollinator populations within the 150 acres of land at BCIT.