Chefs around the world are shouting out for more sustainable food sources, supporting local economies, alleviating some of the pressure that food transport poses on the environment and vitally providing fresher, tastier food. But is all this an idealistic ploy to turn our heads? Or are companies like Vancouver-based Goodforks - who helps businesses who grow, catch or produce food to align them to the retail market - making our ethical food dreams come true?
In terms of food trends forecasted for 2014, locally sourced, environmentally-friendly and healthy produce seem to be topping the culinary charts, which may well indicate a shift towards a gastronomic ideal.
FOUR asks one of Goodforks' co-founders, Deborah Haust what she thinks…
What’s the story behind Goodforks?
Goodforks started in early 2012 as SeaMarket, a consulting company that specialised in sustainable seafood. Through natural progression, we began to apply the services we were offering high-quality seafood producers to other types of food producers and affiliated organizations. We operate as a social enterprise with a portion of our proceeds or time going towards consumer education programs and advocacy for better choices at the retail level.
Do you specialise in local, national or global companies, and why?
We specialize in local. However, we are being approached by national companies that either want to build up their local supply or promote the understanding of why local is important. By working with local food products, we foster economic growth at the community level. We know local can't feed everyone everywhere but we believe there is a lot more room to build up sustainable local food systems.
Can you tell us about some of your case studies, and the success that has ensued?
I believe Goodforks had a major role in strengthening the collaboration amongst the independent fisheries to build one brand, River Select as a united face. This model is a case study for other local, sustainable producers; if there are other groups doing what you do, at the scale that you do it, consider working together. This cooperative model enables the production of high quality foods while meeting the demands of the market in terms of consistency and supply.
Can you tell us about the awareness of food sourcing and conscious eating in Vancouver and Washington DC?
I moved to Washington, DC in January. Briony Crane, a co-founder and the Creative Director, is managing some of the projects from our Vancouver, BC location. Vancouver is extremely forward thinking when it comes to food sourcing and conscious eating. From the encouragement of chefs like Ned Bell at the Four Seasons Hotel, to the support of Farmers’ Markets all year round. I’m too new in Washington DC to make a bold statement. But like all major cities, there appears to be a genuine interest and some meaningful pursuits in organic, local and artisanal food products.
Many world-wide high-end chefs promote sustainable food sourcing – do you think this reflects the market?
Top chefs play a huge role in education and promotion of sustainable foods. Look at Noma for example, the Noma Lab was created to foster and explore the range of tastes within Nordic foods. Of course we need to recognize that customers of top chefs are only a small portion of the food market, and accessibility to sustainably sourced food is still a major challenge. Just consider food deserts within urban environments in the US.
How do you think the global food market will change over the next 10 years?
The global food market is shifting as consumers and food makers are becoming more and more connected. On one hand, we have this excitement around sourcing locally; on the other we have technology that allows us to source food economically from the other side of the world.
Where do you buy your food?
I join CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), purchase products from local retailers that sell organic produce or farmers markets and frequent retailers such as Whole Foods Market. I’m starting to look into our options for buying food online. We always have gardens and this year, our landlord will be producing honey.
If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your days, what would it be?
Good question. Breakfast smoothie. My husband, Lee, makes an incredible smoothie with hemp seeds, fruit and milk from Trickling Springs Creamery in Pennsylvania. It's the best way to start my day, with an espresso, of course!
Thanks Deborah! Check out more about Goodforks here.
Images © Goodforks Inc. and Marion Luttenberger