LOCAL NEWS Cooking Clean
RECYCLING. As part of Quebec’s week of waste reduction, Un plant de tomate à la fois, in collaboration with the Maison de l’environnement de Verdun, held a Zero Waste Kitchen Workshop in Southwest Mission. Under the supervision of Chef Léonore Pion, attendees learned the basics of green cuisine, including anti-waste tricks, and the virtues of environmentally friendly local consumption and using the entire ingredient.
Green cuisine is part of the growing Zero Waste movement where individuals, families and institutions embrace a philosophy that encourages greater awareness about the use of resources. Examples would include repurposing household items, recycling everything from furniture to curtains and reusing clothing.
Where food is concerned, Zero Waste pushes for local production of food, using every piece of the ingredient and minimizing food waste. John, attending his first workshop, wants to save money. « I find food is so expensive, and I am a penny pincher. If I can learn how to save on food, I will try anything once, » he says.
The Zero Waste Kitchen Workshop meal preparation involved many such ideas including how to de-bone a whole chicken, which are cheaper to buy than pieces. The meal also included the preparation of a zero waste recipe using a staple vegetable, the squash. They were sourced locally, which is a key part of the Zero Waste movement. The chickens, donated by a local grocer, were prepared four ways, and the squash was not only made into soup, but broiled and baked as well. Even their seeds were recuperated to be broiled for snacks.
Southwest Mission Kitchen Chef Léonore Pion welcomed in the basement of Verdun Elementary school the attendees with genuine openness and an excited attitude. She began community dinners and teen cooking workshops at the Mission in April, 2016.
« I believe that there are small things we can all do in our kitchens to reduce waste. Nearly all cuttings like carrot stalks and stems, celery bases, onion peels, all these things can be thrown in water to make a bouillabaisse. And that’s just a basic thing to do. »
The workshop was the idea of two organizations that promote sustainable lifestyles. It was developed by Un plant de tomate à la fois, a community-based organization that focuses on improving local access to fresh produce, who were supported by the Maison de l’environnement de Verdun, who have helped people learn about good waste management and environmental practices since 2008 through awareness campaigns, activities, and more .
Verdun mother and attendee Jessica Morales has implemented a Zero Waste lifestyle in her home. «We started gradually with cloth diapers for our baby. Then we started to buy loose veggies and fruits. Bulk Barn then started to allow customers to bring their own containers. Within a couple of months we found it quite easy. »
She credits the Maison de l’environnement de Verdun with offering the support and advice she needed to make the change and she often comes to the mission workshops to pick up more tips and tricks. To volounteer or attend community dinners email:firstname.lastname@example.org or call 514 768-6231
Chef Pion prepares to teach participants how to make bouillon from cuttings and peels.