With sustainability and equity increasingly on the menu, the theme for this year’s World Food Day is timely, “Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future”. In the midst of the pandemic, there’s never been a better time for sustainable food systems that are future-proofed. With the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) encouraging everyone to be a food hero this year, whether you’re in the office or still working from home, we’ve provided a handy list of ways you can become a food hero in your workplace, including some things we’re doing at Appetite.
1. Choose healthy and diverse – we love the focus on diversity as this is often forgotten in healthy eating, yet so important. By eating a diverse range of foods, we get a wide range of nutrients and also encourage the production of a variety of foods which is great for soil health and biodiversity.
What can I do?
• If you get a fruit delivery at your office, try and find a supplier who can supply above and beyond just apples, bananas and oranges – think kiwifruit, grapes, melons and mandarins (whatever is in season)
• Start a diversity workplace challenge with one staff member challenged each week to bring in a fruit or veg they haven’t bought before for everyone to try. You could be sampling kohlrabi, mangosteen and persimmons. Who knows, you might just find a new favourite.
• If you’re still working from home, explore championing a section on your workplace channel, introducing a new seasonal fruit or vegetable each month with recipes and encouraging staff to try it
2. Support local and seasonal – choosing local helps you support smaller farmers and your local economy, while buying seasonally means you reduce the carbon footprint of your food as produce doesn’t need to be imported.
What can I do?
• If you get a fruit delivery, choose a supplier who can guarantee the produce is both seasonal and local.
• Send out a monthly note to your staff with a list of in-season produce and ways to use them?
• Other ways to support the local economy include sourcing things like your office coffee from a local roastery. For staff working remotely, you could provide them a small gift voucher to purchase some food or drink from a local supplier. It’s a win-win – good for the local economy, and a nice morale boost for staff.
What does the Appetite team do? On the days we are in the office, we pop into our local café for our daily brew as we know this supports a local roastery, and also buy some ground beans to take home for our home brew.
3. Join initiatives – there are many food heroes out there doing incredible work to ensure an equitable and sustainable food supply. Being an ally to these food heroes amplifies the work of these initiatives.
What can I do?
• Many charities offer corporate volunteering options, with some moved online due to COVID. For example, OzHarvest has taken their team-building activities online. If you’re in a state where a physical Christmas party isn’t an option, this is a great feel-good virtual option. If your office is open, you could look into doing a food drive to collect food to be made up into hampers for those in need.
• Alternatively, instead of Christmas gifts you could make a donation to one of these initiatives – some other great causes to support include SecondBite and FoodBank.
What does the Appetite team do? Appetite makes an annual Christmas donation to a charity working towards a better food supply – last year’s charity was OzHarvest.
4. Respect food and food heroes – while a lot of food waste occurs way before it even gets to your plate, almost a third happens at the consumer level. Food waste has a huge environmental impact and reducing it often just takes a bit of smart thinking.
What can I do?
• While it’s not an option for every workplace, you could start a compost bin at your workplace and look into local initiatives to take the scraps. Some councils are starting to pick up food waste from a separate bin or there might be a local community garden looking to take food scraps. Get on the ShareWaste app to find out how you could donate your scraps to someone who needs it – it’s like Tinder for compost!
• If you can’t compost, start to be more mindful about workplace catering – encourage people to take home leftovers from lunch meetings or store them correctly in the fridge so someone can eat them later, rather than letting them spoil sitting on the boardroom table.
What does the Appetite team do? One thing we’re mindful of at Appetite is not overbuying office supplies while the office still isn’t at full occupancy like not buying too much milk and storing nuts in the fridge.
5. Influence positive will – you can amplify the conversation with people within your company to think about how you can work together to support sustainable food systems.
• Share this post on social media using #WorldFoodDay and #FoodHeroes to keep the conversation going.
• Share it directly with the decision makers in your organisation and direct people to the FAO website which has more information.