Why food matters in the talk about sustainability

Daniella Lopez considers the right ingredients for a sustainable future while watching Peggy Chan’s talk at TEDxTinHau Countdown

In a former life I used to describe myself as a “foodie”. Back in Shanghai I used to plan my days around meals, exploring hole-in-the-walls, street food, free-flow brunches and saving every penny to visit Paul Pairet’s Ultraviolet. I bragged that I didn’t know how to cook and was on first name terms with many chefs and bartenders around town.

Rarely did I pause to think about the ingredients I was consuming or about the waste around me as we over-ordered to try every recommended dish. Yet, sitting down at one of the 2020 TEDxTinHau Countdown live stream events, I found myself entranced by Peggy Chan’s talk which focused not only on what we eat but how we eat.

Peggy Chan shares her recipe for a sustainable future. Photo by Alex Macro.

A plant-based Chef, Peggy spoke to us about “food literacy”, a new and developing term in the food world. A phrase I had never heard before. Food literacy is understanding how food is related to nutrition, biodiversity, and climate change. It also encompasses everything from nutrition to composting to sustainable business management. And also understanding how our food is processed in order to make more sustainable choices. By understanding these connections we can become more informed about our food choices to make healthier decisions for ourselves and our communities. And Peggy firmly believes “food literacy as a subject should be as fundamental as math, science and languages.”

Planet-forward food from MANA! enjoyed as part of TEDxTinHau Countdown. Photo by Danielle Tjia.

Peggy has spent years educating herself about the impact that our food choices have on our physical, social and mental health. Her passion was clearly visible in her TEDx talk and as I looked around everyone was entranced. When MANA! was served at the end of the talks, everyone was acutely aware of how MANA! fits into this food literacy school of thought. Their food is about diet change, not climate change. whole-food, plant-based food, served in an eco-friendly & responsible manner.

So although there  is no easy solution for our health and environmental problems, supporting restaurants with a comparable mantra is a step in the right direction.

Watch Peggy’s TEDxTinHau Countdown talk ‘A chef shares her recipe for a sustainable future’

And what else can you do to be more food literate? According to Peggy, there are things we can do right now to help use food in our own fights for climate change.

  1. Push for legislative changes, such as ending government subsidies of genetically modified corn. This will reduce the amount of junk foods being sold on our supermarket shelves.
  2. Influence government bodies to agree on setting a standard to help manage a sustainable global food system.
  3. Support farmers’ markets
  4. Eat locally grown and locally sourced food as much as possible
  5. Educate yourself on ingredients and how to read food labels 
  6. Include more plant-based meals to your diet

You can make your actions count when you #JoinTheCountdown with the Count Us In aggregator. Commit to eat more plants or eat seasonally at Count-Us-In.org

Daniella Lopez is a Co-Founder and Co-Chair of TEDxTinHauWomen.

Author: TEDxTinHauWomen

TEDxTinHauWomen is the only annual TEDx event dedicated to women in Hong Kong.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: