Why Sustainable Seafood Is Good For You And The Environment When we think of eating seafood, most times we aren’t also thinking about the effect that our actions have on the environment. Oceans and lakes cover over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, but their resources are not unlimited. When we overfish or damage the aquatic ecosystem, we create problems for animals living in the ocean. We also create future problems for ourselves, because damaging the oceans eventually limits our supply of food. Luckily, many seafood producers are recognizing the positives of sustainability. When seafood producers fish sustainably, they target species that are already plentiful instead of those that are lower or on the food chain or are endangered. They also don’t offer fish out of season, because shipping said fish to different locations often means that they must be overfished, leading to drastic reductions in their populations. Fish farms that are run sustainably try to minimize the effects of pollution and curb the negative effects of coastal ecosystem damage. It has been estimated that over 90 percent of large predatory fish are overfished, with some of them already gone from the oceans. Fish that are sustainably farmed are typically healthier and fed better, leading to tastier seafood meals once that fish makes its way to your plate. Healthy, sustainably farmed seafood are generally brimming with nutrients and are less apt to carry toxins such as mercury. Healthy seafood are heart friendly and can help to lower the risk of heart disease over time. The movement pushing sustainable seafood has grown and there are now a number of sustainable fisheries and restaurants available for distributers and seafood eaters alike. More people than ever are concerned about overfishing and protecting the environment for the future, and that’s led to more sustainable fishing practices.
When we guiltily confess to eating junk food or garbage, we’re usually referring to chips and snack cakes and other prepackaged goodies filled with all sorts of things that are bad for us. But on Monday, July 21st at 6pm Louies Modern in Sarasota will be hosting a different kind of junk food dinner. Sarasota’s first-ever Trash Fish dinner. This event, organized by Steve Phelps (James Beard award nominee and chef owner of Indigenous) and Tracy Walsh Freeman (editor and publisher of Edible Sarasota magazine) will benefit Chefs Collaborative, a group that is changing the sustainable food landscape. So what exactly is a Trash Fish dinner? The concept originated in 2011 and has been staged in cities across the country by Chefs Collaborative starting in early 2013. It’s an innovative way to approaching the very legitimate issue of overfishing, while still allowing people to enjoy fresh, local seafood. These dinners highlight undervalued and underutilized species of fish in order to encourage chefs and diners alike to focus on fish that haven’t historically been on menus. This protects more popular species from being overfished, and allows local fishing communities to flourish and thrive. This unique meal will be a truly collaborative event, as several of the area’s best chefs gather together to present delectable preparations of the best seafood you’ve never had. This talented team includes Steve Phelps of Indigenous, Keith Dougherty and James Baselici of Louies Modern, Darwin Santa Maria of Darwin’s on 4th, Randall Roulette of Owen’s Fish Camp, and Christian Hershman of State Street. The event will also feature great presentations by speakers from Mote Marine and Gulf Wild. Become part of a truly forward-thinking sustainable movement and join some of our favorite chefs, foodies, and conservationists as they present the Sarasota Trash Fish Dinner on Monday, July 21st at Louies Modern, located at 1289 Palm Avenue in Sarasota. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be served starting at 6pm, and a family-style dinner will commence at 7pm. Tickets are still available online through the Chefs Collaborative website here. Forget junk food: this trash fish is something you can feel really good about eating.
Let’s face it: no matter how old we get, when October rolls around we all start counting down the days until we can get our hands on that sweet, sweet Halloween candy. But though we typically think October 31st is the pinnacle of the month (after all, when else do you have the excuse to wear a silly costume and eat your body weight in miniature Snickers bars?), a different cuisine-centric day this month is grabbing our attention. Food Day is annual celebration of food that is affordable, healthy, and sustainable, and this year it falls on October 24th. But Food Day is far from being just a single day on the calendar that passes by once a year: it’s actually a grassroots movement that builds each year. Image Source: Foodday.org The purpose of Food Day is simple: it aims to help people Eat Real by cutting down on things like overly-processed packaged foods in favor of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and sustainably-raised protein. But it’s not just about raising awareness: it’s about encouraging individuals to reach out to their communities by setting up their own events, whether it’s as simple as throwing a healthy potluck dinner with friends and family or as major as lobbying your local government to help bring grocery stores and farmers’ markets to food deserts and underserved areas. The idea is that the dialogue begins on October 24th, and that it continues to build all year long. Image Source: Thephoenix.com If you’re interested in participating in Food Day, you can search their site for events near you. Even better, you can be a leader and sign up to host your own event. You can even do something as simple as shopping at the farmer’s market instead of a grocery chain and getting fresh local produce that day, or eating at a restaurant that sources sustainable ingredients. The hope of the Food Day organizers is that by participating in whatever way you can on October 24th it will encourage you to be more thoughtful about your food choices all year round: or, even better, that it will inspire you to help people in your community gain access to healthy sustainable food if you’re in a position to do so. Don’t worry though: if you still want to eat all the leftover Halloween candy we won’t tell anyone.