Sustainable living – one of the most well-known statements this decade.
Although we all recognise this phrase, do we really know what it means to live sustainably? Wikipedia explains it simply as a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources, and one’s personal resources.
What better way to celebrate and create awareness around sustainability than today, World Food Day. With reference to what we do in the Londolozi Kitchen, I’d like to share with you today, 5 simple ways I think we could live a little more sustainably:
1.Put those green fingers to use and grow your own vegetable garden
There is nothing better than getting your hands dirty and picking a bunch of fabulous home-grown herbs that you have taken care of. This makes cooking so much more fun, especially when you’re able to devour them together with some other delicious ingredients!
At Londolozi we have 39 gardens which are all run by the Londolozi staff. The green leaves you’ll find in our salads, which are blended into our famous Magic Dressing, are the most organic you’ll find! Each staff member walks down to the kitchen in the mornings with their bucket of green offerings. We then proceed to weigh them and the individual gets to put that cash back into their ‘co-op’ (for lack of a better word) and so the planting and picking cycle continues. This allows for another form of income as well as learned skill to pass onto their families. To see more on our Londolozi gardens read How to Grow Vegetables with Rhino Dung and Spring Harvest Londolozi Style.
2. Become familiar with your SASSI Green List fish
In my blog for World Oceans Day, I listed the SASSI (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) list of fish which are acceptable to be removed from our oceans. WWF and SASSI have released a great list of what fish are considered Green, and I urge you all to take a look. For example, if you are like me and absolutely love salmon sashimi, but it’s on the orange list, our local Rainbow trout from Dullstroom is a more sustainable alternative.
As much as we must look after our ocean fish, we must bear in mind that our use of plastic straws is also detrimental to ocean life. At Londolozi we don’t use any form of plastic straw, and in fact are now selling glass straws in our Living Boutique which come in beautifully designed canvas pouches designed by local artist Libby Bell.
3. As we South Africans say: ‘Local is Lekker’
‘Lekker’ is a South African word for good or pleasant – “the lekker local flavour of South Africa”.
Firstly when it comes to protecting our environment, there’s a lot to be said about sourcing produce as locally as possible. By adopting this practice, you’ll be creating less of a carbon footprint on the environment and supporting your fellow neighbours. At Londolozi, although we do source certain produce from Johannesburg; we work on using just one mode of transport which carries all our supplies instead of having multiple forms of transport.
Secondly we are blessed to be situated in the Lowveld area of South Africa which is abundant with so many delicious selections – from avocados, bananas and macadamias to fresh Rainbow trout! The amount of organic farmers that have set up shop in this area has grown substantially in the past 7 years that I have been at Londolozi, and it brings me such joy when the truck rolls in with fabulously fresh fruit and vegetables that we know have come from less than 50km away. I’d suggest for everyone to become more aware when buying from your local stores to have a look at the labels of products to see the region in which they have been made.
4. Become creative with leftovers
In South Africa, 10 million tonnes of food go to waste every year (that’s a third of the 31 million tonnes of food produced annually) according to WWF. The energy wasted every year in South Africa on food production that is not eaten is estimated as enough to power the city of Johannesburg for roughly 16 weeks! A pretty scary fact when you become more aware of what you are throwing in the bin!
In the Londolozi Kitchen, you can imagine we could have a lot of waste, however, over the years we have stopped having our ‘green bins’ so full. At the end of the day when we send these bins out, they are only ¼ full compared to close on full 7 years ago. How did we achieve this? Quite simply by being mindful! Here are a few ideas:
- Instead of throwing away the vegetable off cuts, always a keep a pot next to where you’re working and make some vegetable stock for soups and sauces. You can also freeze the stock.
- When preparing any meat or fish, keep the off cuts and throw them into your vegetable stock and create beef, chicken or fish stock.
- Potato and citrus off cuts can be added to your compost pile for your garden.
- Don’t throw your teabags away, rather dry them out, soak them with paraffin and use as firelighters for when you next have a barbecue.
- Leftover cooked vegetables from dinner or lunch make great soups!
- Have a look on a previous blog of mine: Deliciously Smart Ways To Use Leftovers This Festive Season
A lot of our guests often ask the question ‘where does all the leftover food go?’. Here is the answer: we work very carefully with how many guests we are serving in camp and as you know all dishes are abundant! Any leftovers are turned into other dishes which are served to the staff in our canteen – no complaints from any staff here!
5. Removing plastic – a daily process
Plastic is a swear word at Londolozi! And in the words of Dave Varty, ‘we have zero tolerance for it!’.
In our kitchen we have reduced the amount of plastic packaging our fresh produce arrives in. Together with our supplier, Matumi, coming on board as enthusiastically as we are, we have reduced our plastic packaging by 75% – one of 2018’s greatest achievements to date!
Instead of using plastic wrap, use tupperwares for storing your food items or keep your glass jars from jams and mustards and use those for when you make mayonnaise or other sauces.
We would love to know how you live sustainably. Let us know your suggestions in the comments section below.