National Sustainable Food Summit: An Overview of the Effort

20years-smallSustainability. Responsibility. Real Food. The future of the restaurant industry has arrived as chefs, restaurateurs, food & beverage managers, and hospitality consultants join forces to bring diners great food, from great, sustainable sources.

And the visionaries at Chefs Collaborative, a nonprofit pioneer of the sustainable food movement, are dedicated to doing just that. Ahead of its time when founded in 1993 by a group of noted chefs (incl: John Ash, Rick Bayless, Susan Feniger, Nobu Matsuhita, Nora Pouillon, Michael Romano, and Alice Waters), Chefs Collaborative aimed to use knowledge and influence to raise awareness and educate guests (and the global food community at large) about the importance of nourishing ourselves with food that is better for our health… and our planet.

Now, 20 years later and 12,000 members strong, Chefs Collaborative recently celebrated their 5th Annual National Sustainable Food Summit and their ongoing dedication to supporting small farms in order to change the face of sustainable agriculture.

Here are just a couple viable, global sustainable statistics to back that initiative from the United Nations’ Sustainable Future Platform:

  • Agriculture is the single largest global employer, providing livelihoods for 40% of today’s global population, making it the largest source of income/jobs for impoverished rural households
  • 500 million small farms worldwide (most still rain-fed) provide up to 80% of food consumed in a large part of the developing world

Hence, investing in small farms and making informed, responsible food choices are critical to increasing food security, nutrition, and production for local and global markets.

So, if you can’t make it to the next Chefs Collaborative National Sustainable Food Summit this November, here are some other great sustainable food/agricultural resources to check out: US Healthful Food Council REAL certification program, U.S. Food and Drug AdministrationLocal HarvestThe National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, and the American Culinary Institute’s Sustainability Corner.