Go Green: 15 Secrets for a Fabulous, Eco-friendly Food Event

Before you get too far into your event planning, consider its carbon footprint. Making your food event eco-friendly is not only a social responsibility; it’s also a good way to save some dough. Plus, consumers are making more environmentally conscious purchase decisions and greening your event could lead to more ticket sales.

 

Here are 15 steps:

1. Swap disposable for second hand. Instead of bottled water, use mason jars as glasses. Instead of buying imported tablecloths, scour the local thrift stores.

2. Do the math. Save money and reduce impact by carefully calculating the amounts of food, drinks and other goods. This will ensure you don’t have a lot of leftovers. 


3. Make your guests aware of your environmental efforts. They’ll make more of an effort to use the proper receptacles and may leave inspired to take extra environmental measures in their own lives.



4. Carefully consider your location. Give your guests green travel options such as walking, biking or public transportation. Make it a goal to minimize fossil fuel used to transport event-goers. 



5. Go local for food, flowers and linens. Not only will you support the local economy, by eliminating long-distance delivery, you’re reducing fossil fuel emissions.

6. Be choosy when it comes to food. Whenever possible, make sure your food is organic, seasonal, fair trade, no or low packaging and locally sourced.

7. Allow guests to pour their own water instead of filling glasses on the table. This will cut water waste. 



8. Up-cycle as many objects as you can. Consignment shopping not only saves money, it ends the cycle of manufacturing. Buy your glasses, plates, silverware and other items from thrift stores or borrow them. 



9. Avoid plastic items. Plastics are quite toxic to manufacture, petroleum-based, and aren’t biodegradable. If you need disposable silverware, try the eco-friendly versions made from compostable plants. 



10. Limit the number of print materials to just what is absolutely necessary. 



11. Hand out practical swag. Be sure any swag you hand out is durable, reusable and useful. The cost might be higher but definitely avoid cheap, throw-away trinkets.

12. Reduce paper waste with paperless invitations and ticket delivery methods. 



13. Find charities that can use undistributed handouts, such as pencils and paper to schools.

14. Clearly mark recycling, food waste and trash receptacles. Make recycling, food waste and trash containers clearly marked and readily available



15. Allow your guests to go casual. When people have to dress formally, they will need their clothes dry-cleaned. Air-conditioning is a must for a black-tie event in the summer; allowing guests to dress comfortably eliminates the need for climate control.

Food & Drink >

6 Tips to Sourcing Sustainable Seafood for Your Next Event

Sustainable_seafood_salmonAs spring swings into summer, food events featuring seafood menus pop up around the country. Whether it’s a New England clambake, Southern-style fish fry or crawfish boil, Maine lobster fest or Pacific Northwest salmon tasting, seafood is a beautiful meal to share outdoors. However, despite big strides by local food movements to make ethically raised meat and produce readily available, sourcing sustainable seafood remains a much more complicated endeavor.

At the turn of the 20th century, seafood (particularly shellfish) was plentiful, affordable and readily available on both coasts. Louisiana’s Gulf Coast powered the Southern economy with its large shrimping and crawfish operations. Since then deregulation, changes in national tastes, industrial pollution and environmental disasters have wreaked havoc on what was the most important source of food and livelihood for coastal communities–and of course, biodiversity in our oceans and lakes.

Seafood is now expensive, hard to trace, and often farm-raised. A lack of packing facilities forces many large fishing operations to send their product to Asia for processing, just to be shipped back to the U.S. in canned or frozen form.

Our national obsession with tuna and salmon sushi rolls have put tremendous pressure on those two species (that should only be eaten from particular waters and in specific seasons), while other perfectly delicious and plentiful fish goes unrecognized and discarded. And because our oceans are bio-diverse ecosystems, the extinction of one species destroys all the life up and down that species’ food chain.

At current rates of over-fishing, scientists predict that most of the world’s seafood supply will collapse by 2048.

We must vote with our forks to bring attention and dollars back to fishermen and communities working against this sweeping tide of sea life degradation. Taking time to properly source seafood for your event will not only improve the taste and quality of your food, it will mediate your environmental impact and attract like-minded attendees.

6 Tips to Sourcing Sustainable Seafood

1. Source seafood caught and processed in the U.S. where species management and safety regulations are stricter and enforced.
2. Look for seafood caught locally and seasonally. All species have abundant times, locations, and seasons when they should not be harvested. Use Seafood Watch or another online resource to figure out what is available where and when.
3. Purchase from fishermen, docks, and distributors that employ reputable practices. Ask locally minded chefs in your community where to find good sources of fish. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask; they will often be thrilled to bring their suppliers more business.
4. Choose wild-caught seafood over farm-raised. New distribution projects, like Sea 2 Table, bring sustainable, fresh and local seafood directly to the consumer.
5. If possible, choose lesser-known seafood species for your event. Not only will you offer something new and exciting to your attendees, you will help expand your community’s taste for your local waterway’s bio-diversity.
6. Make attendees aware of your sourcing choices. Encourage guests to consider the environmental impact of their eating practices at home. And remember, seafood shells (oyster, clams, mussels) are compostable.

5 Resources for Sustainable Seafood Research:

  1. Seafood Watch
  2. Dock to Dish (Northeast)
  3. Seasonal Cornucopia (Pacific Northwest Seasonality)
  4. Sea to Table
  5. Paul Greenberg: American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood

Ready to find your fish? Discover seafood events across the country.

Food & Drink >