Time for an ethically produced coffee & a sustainable food snack

Time for an ethically produced coffee & a sustainable food snack

Nothing could be more fundamental than the need for food, though production and consumption often cause significant environmental impact. To counter this, major efforts have been introduced in New York City; including the Restaurant Sustainability Survey launched by the non-profit group Sustainable Restaurant Corps aimed at helping restaurants make sustainable food choices. Meanwhile, professors from Cornell University are seeking agricultural, economic and environmental sustainability for the world’s smallholder coffee bean growers. Read more

New York City Nonprofit Launches Restaurant Sustainability Survey

The Sustainable Restaurant Corps aims to reduce restaurant food waste

By Vivian Mac (16 July 2013):

This year, the city has introduced major efforts to reduce food waste in New York City. For example, Mayor Bloomberg got over a hundred restaurants to participate in the Food Waste Challenge, and the City Council conducted discussions about residential composting. At a City Hall press conference Tuesday, a nonprofit called Sustainable Restaurant Corps (SRC) announced the launch of their Restaurant Sustainability Survey, which is designed to help New York City restaurants reduce food, water, and energy waste and make sustainable food choices.

Christine Black, the founder of Sustainable Restaurant Corps, hopes that restaurants will complete the voluntary survey. “The survey will help us understand what restaurants are doing or may not be doing,” she said to the crowd. The data will be used to address the challenges that restaurants face and tailor the nonprofit’s services neighborhood by neighborhood.

Being sustainable makes for good business, Black added, since it can help restaurants save 20-30% off of their monthly utility bill. Thus far, SRC has sent the survey to more than 500 restaurants in the city, with questions such as, “How much organic food do you serve?” and “Have you had an energy audit?” The nonprofit plans to develop a sustainability rating system and set basic, voluntary guidelines that any restaurant can achieve. The SRC will also introduce green products and services to restaurants, such as T&S Brass and Bronze Works and the EnviroPure organic waste disposal system.

Democratic mayoral candidate Sal F. Albanese supports the SRC’s plans, calling it a “great start.” “I want a zero waste New York City,” he said. Council Member Gale Brewer, who is a candidate for Manhattan Borough President, agrees. “There’s been a lot of talk on how to be green, but not a lot of people are stepping up to the plate to do the work,” she told the crowd. “A survey is a phenomenal way to get information from restaurants to see what’s helpful to them.”

Christine Black has more future plans for her nonprofit organization. “We’re going to have a number of things on our website for restaurants to use,” she told The Daily Meal. The site will show restaurants how to get their sustainability rating, and feature articles and product services that will help them stay green.” She also hopes to “have coaches to focus on each neighborhood to come up with solutions specific to each place” and offer “education workshops and seminars for restaurateurs, to help them implement sustainable practices at restaurants.”

Her plans echo what Council Member Gale Brewer said. “It’s the collaboration, it’s the education— that’s what’s going to make our city green.”

Source: www.thedailymeal.com



From the grounds up, study seeks sustainable ‘java’

16 July 2013:

Baristas rejoice! Cornell professors seek to brew agricultural, environmental and economic sustainability together for the world’s smallholder coffee bean growers.

Looking to improve conditions for small farms in Colombia, professors in economics and soil science are examining the entire supply chain – from the tiny producers to the coffee drinkers – to gain insight into consistently delivering quality coffee at a fair price for all.

“I think we’re the first team to measure the environment and biodiversity in a systematic way,” says Miguel Gómez, professor at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. The comprehensive study, funded by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, will measure the diversity of the fauna, examine the energy, measure the water use and train farmers to pollute less – all to develop a sustainable, viable coffee system.

In a partnership with Gómez, Harold Van Es, professor of soil and crop sciences, will focus on land management. Van Es explains that soil samples will be studied for physical, biological and chemical properties. “We hope to see a relationship between a farm’s soil characteristics and how the farmers manage their land,” he said.

Ximena Rueda, a research associate at Stanford University, will link the biophysical and socioeconomic data, and examine land use for sustainability.

Later in July, graduate students Juan Nicolas Hernandez and Colleen Anunu, (who is a buyer for Ithaca-based Gimme! Coffee) will visit Colombia for six weeks to gather socioeconomic data from small farms and evaluate sustainability factors. Also, the graduate students will measure the impact of economic supply-chain models.

The researchers will partner with Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers, who use the up-and-coming Relationship Coffee Model, or RCM. This model offers roasters and small farmers the opportunity to establish a direct, long-term trading partnership for high-quality coffee. In return for the strong relationship, the farmers earn a sustainable fair price in the market – and RCM is less vulnerable to market fluctuations, says Gómez.

Small farms can become fair-trade certified (a different model), but must pay to participate. Many small farmers – who have two acres or less and earn less than $6,000 a year – can’t afford the fair trade certification fees and are thus impeded from participating.

Said Gómez: “Specialty coffee is becoming more like wine. High quality will get you good prices.”

Provided by Cornell University

Source: www.m.phys.org

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