BAKEYS: This is their story

1.    Summarize your business in one sentence. 

BAKEYS is a revolutionary and sustainable innovation, that is a change maker.

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2. How long have you been in business? 

Since 2006, when I first innovated and manufactured edible spoons.

3. Why did you decide to start the company?

I was a researcher on ground water and power sector reforms and had a background in research on agriculture, horticulture, water management, all sorts of farming techniques, crops, land and soil use and misuse, rain patterns and its impacts on farming in India. This led me to think about how I could help save millet that is slowly declining in farming, as farmers go for fast buck cash crops.

The losses, debt traps, increased suicide of farmers, and the migration of farmers to cities in search of work, never to return to farming again, was a very disturbing trend.

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I wanted to create a product that would help the soil, preserve millet production for my products and most importantly drive away plastic from food eating, so I created cutlery.

Our mission and vision is to protect the soil, ground water, promote millets and stop plastic invasion.

4. What has been your biggest achievement so far? 

1. Creating Edible cutlery- we are the  change makers and the world has recognized the product, its need and its urgency for sustainability.
2. Creating an automatic machine between May 2016 to February 2017, first of its kind custom designed locally by us in Hyderabad-India, totally a Made in India product.
3. Creating a buzz all over the world, 130 countries know about us and have placed orders for cutlery when we are ready to supply them. All of them want to throw away plastic from their food/ cutlery usage and turn to eco friendly modes/ products. We have been fairly successful in creating mass awareness on ills of plastic in food consumption and made the world stand and think about what we have all been doing to our planet and eco system. If a child is awakened at a young age on how each of them can change their habits, the world and how to protect self, then it’s a big job done for the world to help trigger future protectors of the Earth.

4. Several universities from several countries are taking up our product as part of  their sustainability programme and researching them for studies. Students from at least 20 countries contacted us for details on our product and how they can create awareness/ manufacture/ make more such products to create alternatives to disposable and harmful plastic.

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Painting of Mr. Peesapatya made by Faith Jelks, a first grader at Calavera Hills Elementary in Carlsbad, CA.

5. How do you measure success?

The above mentioned biggest achievements are a success for us. Particularly #4, as this will lead to several innovations, creative thinking, out of the box thinking and experimentation. Going beyond academics.

Edible cutlery being manufactured with local ingredients in each continent followed by each country will be a real time answer and mission completion of our vision and provide a spoon full of contribution to a sustainable world.

6. What have you learned in the process? 

Innovation is a process of meditation- seeking God through research, patience, persistence, hard work, not ever giving up and being 100% focused.

I have learnt all these by experiencing it since I ventured in 2006 to make my first spoon in my kitchen. Coming this far has been a test of rigor, endurance, losses, ridicule, rejections, apathy, being ignored to becoming a hero.

Making an automatic machine that never existed for such an innovative product (concept) was a big challenge for my imagination as am not an engineer by training or academics. Learning about metallurgy, electrical, mechanical engineering and blending it to make an efficient system has taken my life out and am now a different person than what my family knew me as. I’m evolving with my spoons each day.

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7. What advice would you give to someone trying to start a sustainable food company?

Stay tuned to your inner call. Never give up, keep dreaming and try to act on dreams. Seek help, use intuition, try, fail (several times if needed), but eventually you will walk tall one day. Spend quality time with self, and the idea that lead to your sleepless nights (so you day dream), disturbed your family, angered them, frustrated you (and them), caused you to be ridiculed, but will bring you happiness, as it is your original idea. So, stay focused and don’t ever say I can’t.

8. What’s next? Anything else you want to add?

1. Seeking funds to expand technology.
2. Once funds come in, we will create more machines, all shapes of cutlery, get everything in process mode and systems, ISO standards and logistics world wide. Employ professional and mentor all.
3. Sell technology once perfected so that manufacturing and local distribution happens faster, smoother, cut expenses and time on shipping and breakages.

4. Get the next innovation (still a secret) into action – another one for sustainability.

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It’s a tough job to be an innovator, if you also wish to sell what you manufacture. It is a big challenge if you don’t have the mental, emotional capacity to get into unknown zones of your being where you may need to learn/ unlearn and tear yourself apart to become a new person.

9. Fun question: what was the best meal you ate this week?

We had our Vedic Hindu new year on 29th March (UGADI) and I ate 3 spoons for breakfast as cooking at home got delayed for a big lunch, with several dishes getting prepared. My won innovation saved my hunger pangs till my wife gave me a delicious meal later. I proved that survival really is a mother of  all invention- even my own.

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by Narayana Peesapaty and Pradnya Keskar, Founders of BAKEYS 

Repurposed Pod: This is Their Story

1.    Summarize your business in one sentence. 

Repurposed Pod hopes to disrupt the cocoa industry through new cacao crop innovations, advancing cacao agriculture and adding value back to the supply chain.

2. How long have you been in business? 

We started Repurposed Pod in October of 2014. We launched our first product (100% Cacao Juice) 2 years later October 2016.

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3. Why did you decide to start the company?

We have always been in the cocoa industry and spent many years trekking across the beautiful cacao farms. Traditionally, the farmers will hand pick a cacao pod off the tree, crack it open and you pop the cocoa beans in your mouth to taste the sweet fruit pulp which surrounds the bitter beans. It’s always been a highlight to our days on the farm. Some of this sweet fruit pulp is used in the fermentation step of the cocoa harvesting process. However, the rest is simply wasted. We realized we could bring to life this beautiful fruit to the U.S. market and by utilizing this wasted  sweet fruit, we could bring additional value to the cacao supply chain, and provide premiums to the farmers through increasing land utility. It was one of those magical “ah, ha” moments we will never forget..

4. What has been your biggest achievement so far? 

By reinventing the cacao crop’s 3,000 year old post harvest process. Repurposed Pod had the opportunity to provide a new perspective on “the fruit that brings you chocolate.” No longer is Cacao only the crop of cocoa beans, it is also the crop of cacao fruit juice.

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5. How do you measure success?

We measure success against our mission of advancing cacao agriculture and improving the livelihoods of cacao farming families. This is the ultimate success.

6. What have you learned in the process? 

Starting your own business is ONE BIG learning curve. In the beginning you wear every hat, you learn every role (even roles you may not excel in or roles your not comfortable with).

7. What advice would you give to someone trying to start a sustainable food company?

As you navigate the rough waters of a start up remember your mission You embarked on this journey for a purpose, a purpose to help make the world a better place. Remember your purpose and stay true to your mission every step of the way. Let it guide your decisions, let it lift you up when you reach obstacles (because you will!) and allow yourself to celebrate the successes along the way  (big and small).

View More: http://char-co.pass.us/repurpose-pod-jpegs

8. What’s next? 

We are constantly innovating and brewing new ideas. Let’s just say Cacao Juice is only the beginning for Repurposed Pod.

9. Fun question: what was the best meal you ate this week?

I love to cook healthy foods Monday I made this Thai Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce, it was amazing!!! You use peeled carrot as the noodles and sun butter for the “peanut sauce”.  

Kayla Weidner, founder of Repurposed Pod

This is their story

1. Summarize your project/business in one sentence.

Wonky is a new juice brand that lives by the motto ‘give wonky fruit a chance’. We aim to be the most sustainable juice brand in Europe.

2. How long have you been in business/running your project?

It has been almost two years now, since we became entrepreneurs. Wonky Drinks start-up idea was developed by the University of South Wales students, along with co-founders Karina Sudenyte and Maciek Kacprzyk.

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3. Why did you decide to start the company/project?

Maciek had huge interest in business since he was fifteen. His business ventures started from stock trading, these were the first steps when he began developing business skills. However, throughout his educational development he decided to follow a career in Law instead.

Now, after accomplishing my studies, I ditched my law career for a healthy food start-up called Wonky Drinks, with absolutely no regret. I am passionate about the food industry and positive causes for the environment. Of course, starting your own business as an entrepreneur is a lifestyle change. It is hard work, requires a lot of commitment and learning, but what is really important is that I converted my passions into my own business and met a second co-founder, Karina, with whom I linked over a great love for food, who helps to revive my ideas.

P.S. “She is a geek of sustainability! We both enjoy and are proud to be young entrepreneurs”. – Maciek Kacprzyk (Co-founder of Wonky)

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4. What has been your biggest achievement so far?

The first breakthrough occurred during our samplings at the Universities, where we managed to outsell Innocent drinks 11 to 1 at USW, and Bensons juices 8 to 1 in the BS managed canteens. These great results validated that our idea was not at all impossible! It gave us confidence and courage to believe in our concept and pursue impossible goals.

5. How do you measure success?

I consider all obstacles as positive challenge for improvement and success. Any business, sooner or later, is confronted with all kinds of problems, but it is natural, just like in life! A famous philosopher once said: “The man who has no more problems to solve, is out of the game.” This phrase should help you mentally in the approach to solving business problems with courage and give you a positive perception to succeed in your business venture.

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7. What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the _(retail)_ industry/get involved in _(entrepeneurial)_ work & start a _(company)_?

Believing in your idea is extremely important when you start your own business. Are you ready to have your own business? It is important to take into consideration every difficulty that is associated when becoming a new entrepreneur. You must be ready to devote yourself to the work, face new challenges and simply live the idea and breathe it – if so, then this is when you are ready to go.

8. What’s next?

Our key challenge at the moment is to convince at least 2 medium sized distributors that it is smart idea to give Wonky a chance. What is more our aim is to introduce Wonky drinks to 200 catering venues within two years time. Currently we have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £13,000. Our mission is to raise some funding to save 300 tones of wonky produce by April 2017, by implementing and making small bottled wonkies!

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9. Anything else you want to add?

If you like to give Wonky a chance, then click here to support this project. For more information visit www.wonkydrinks.co.uk or say hello at hello@wonkydrinks.co.uk

10. Fun question: What was the best meal you ate this week? 

We spent our lunch last week at the Tiny Leaf London – organic, zerowaste, vegetarian restaurant. Our choice was Tartine du Jour – it was a large slice of toasted bread covered with roasted tomato, pepper and courgette. Classic flavour combination and simply delicious!

This is their story

1.    Summarize your project/business in one sentence. 

The Urban Worm harnesses the power of vermicomposting, utilizing the humble earthworm to provide solutions in sustainable waste management and sustainable agriculture.


2. How long have you been in business/running your project?
 

Since December 2013 after being selected for the Women in Social and Environmental Enterprise program (WISEE) which provided me with a small start up grant and business model support.

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3. Why did you decide to start the company/project?

After completing my MA studies in Human Security and Environmental Change, specializing in Urban Food Security and Urban Agriculture I had to make the decision to either leave my native city (Nottingham) to find employment in my field or create an opportunity for myself and for my city, so The Urban Worm began.

Everybody of course has to eat and  building sustainable food systems will be at the heart of our ability to thrive in the face of adversity. Climate change, desertification and natural resource depletion are undermining global food security and the current corporate driven, energy intensive, unjust and chemical ridden model is neither sustainable or successfully meeting the nutritional needs of the world. We need to empower a different model that is local, organic and community driven and vermiculture provides the foundations for this movement by producing a superior organic fertilizer and compost. Worm castings are teeming with beneficial microbes essential for healthy plant growth and disease suppression with exceptional water holding capacity, perfect for urban gardens and extreme weather events which we are experiencing more of as a consequence of climate change.  The process of vermicomposting not only provides a high value by product, but the process is an efficient, low tech and cost effective system for a sustainable management of organic waste, as opposed to diverting the waste to landfill which further contribute to climate change as gases emitted from food waste are 31 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

By managing our waste at home we can make a positive contribution to building the foundations for sustainable societies and vermicomposting can be done on a very small scale, even if you live in a flat you can keep worms in your cupboard, the process is odorless and perfect for indoors.

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4. What has been your biggest achievement so far?
 

Having the opportunity to travel to learn has by far been my greatest achievement. I was awarded the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT)  travel Fellowship to research vermiculture in the USA and Cuba, and this opportunity to learn has been inspiring and is wonderful to make international connections with like minded people, building a wider community of vermicomposting enthusiasts, sharing knowledge and passion. As I  I write this I am in New York preparing for the next Cuban leg of my research. Whilst traveling the west coast I saw vermicomposting in prisons, zoos, schools, colleges, universities as well as successful businesses,  it has been incredibly inspiring and presents a blueprint for developing institutional sustainable organic waste management in the UK. This will be the next achievement, so watch this space. From Cuba the learning will be vast as Cuba is considered to be the global leader in vermicomposting as after the breakdown of the soviet union they lost 80 % of their imports of synthetic fertilizers over night and so a sustainable alternative was called for, and the organic movement began, with worms.


5. How do you measure success?

Tricky one! I guess on a personal level success is to receive love, which I never feel in short supply of! On a professional level success is having influence to make positive change, locally and globally.

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6. What have you learned in the process? 

That  worms  definitely don’t like too many apples- I had a massacre situation a few years ago after a community apple pressing day. Sad, sad day, too much acid, a lesson learned the hard way.


7. What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the worm farming industry or  simply starting a wormery at home.

Just do it, the earth needs you.  We need more worm farmers, rural and urban and the process is very easy and can be set up for a very small cost. If not for profit we need to produce as much ‘black gold’ aka worm castings as we possibly can, even if we live in an apartment we can all make a positive contribution.  What greater contribution to the world can we make but to make earth again? Even if you don’t have a garden, a gardener or community garden would be very grateful for your gift. There is an abundance of information on the internet on how to get started and I have written a worm care guide available for download for free from our website www.theurbanworm.co.uk

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8. What’s next?
 

On return from my WCMT travels, besides catching up with friends and family, and checking up on my worm culture, I will be working on a project that introduces vermicomposting into prisons in the UK. Institutions need to play a key role in practicing sustainable waste management and the USA has some incredibly successful models, notably Monroe Correctional Facility  in Washington.


9. Anything else you want to add?
 

Feed the worms, feed the soil, and feed the soul.

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10. Fun question: what was the best meal you ate this week?

Whilst visiting my family in New Jersey we went to a delicious Italian restaurant in Glen Rock called Rocca, all local and organic produce. I had a bruschetta to start and spinach gnocchi for my main, perfect!

This is their story

1. Summarize your project/business in one sentence.

MealFlour is an environmentally sustainable social enterprise that provides training to build mealworm farms, raise mealworms, and turn them into protein-rich flour that can be incorporated in local staple foods or sold to bakeries and markets.

2. How long have you been in business/running your project?

We (Elizabeth Frank, Gabrielle Wimer, and Joyce Lu) have been working on the idea of MealFlour since December of 2015. In the summer of 2016, we began our pilot in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala (also known as Xela). We are based in Xela, but we work with the communities on the outskirts of the city; our first community is Candelaria.

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3. Why did you decide to start the company/project?

MealFlour started out as a thought experiment. We had all worked in community and global health and wished that more programs and social enterprises would take a holistic approach to improving health. We hoped MealFlour, with its emphasis on not only improving nutrition, but also on raising income and reducing waste, would be a more well-rounded approach to improving well-being. After we entered a few social enterprise competitions, earned enough seed funding, and confirmed local interest at our pilot site community, we realized that this thought experiment could actually become a reality, so we went for it.

4. What has been your biggest achievement so far?

One of our biggest concerns was finding out where to start.  Insects are eaten in 80% of countries around the world, including parts of Guatemala, but raising mealworms in this way is something new. When we pitched the concept to the group of women from a community in Candelaria and gave them samples of the mealworm products, they were excited to learn more and wanted to try out farming themselves.

5. How do you measure success?

Each week we discuss MealFlour’s progress with the farmers to receive their continuous feedback. In order to improve the program as it evolves, we track how many families are farming mealworms, how often they are eating mealworm flour, who in the family eats mealworm flour, open ended questions about attitudes towards mealworm farming and mealworm flour, and ease of uptake of the program. Success means that the women are still farming mealworms long after we have left, so it is important that we are constantly collaborating with farmers to build a business model that works for them.

It is also important to us that the flour they are producing is both improving nutrition in communities and creating new sources of income for the farmers (mostly women with young children). To measure this, we will be analyzing anthropometric data, conducting regular focus groups and surveys, and monitoring flour production and income.

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6. What have you learned in the process?

Don’t be afraid to ‘make the ask’. This is advice we have gotten from a few different people along the way and (most of the time) it has really paid off – you’d be surprised how many people agree and want to help you.

7. What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the (nutrition) industry/get involved in (global public health) work/start a (social enterprise)?

Global health is about getting an intimate understanding of the local context, integrating insights and developments from around the world, and continuing to learn from communities. We chose Guatemala because Joyce worked there for three months in 2015 and got to know the community well. It was important to us that we didn’t integrate into the community without having a close relationship with them first. We also think carefully about each step moving forward with MealFlour. We have a plan and timeline for what we hope to achieve each month, but we are also really flexible to the changes that inevitably come with listening to what the community wants and determining what actually works in practice.

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8. What’s next?

Next is where the real work begins! We spent almost a year laying groundwork, doing research, optimizing the farming technology, raising money, and developing partnerships. Now, starting October 2016, we will begin our first official classes on farming and begin to put everything we’ve been planning into practice.

9. Anything else you want to add?

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and check out our website and sign up for newsletter for more information!

Also, while MealFlour is working in the western highlands of Guatemala, we are really part of a larger, global movement towards sustainable agriculture  and edible insects. If you want to build your own farm at home and make delicious protein packed treats, find out how on our ‘DIY‘ page.

10. Fun question: what was the best meal you ate this week?

Homemade chapati bread and macaroons, both made with mealworm flour from mealworms taken straight from our farm and grown by co-founder Gabrielle Wimer!

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Bite sized wisdom: the case of potatoes

This weekend I set out on a camping trip to South Mountain State Park in Maryland. I’ve never been, but it promised hikes on the Appalachian Trail, incredible views from the mountain, and a nice lake near the campsite. After doing research, reserving a site and prepping my materials, I focused on food.

saynotofoodwaste.camping.food.sustainable.potatoes.eating.hiking.discovery.newgrounds.explore.1My grandma, being a great cook, saw me chopping up potatoes and asked if I was planning to cook them right away. I explained that this was for the camping trip and that I was chopping them up so as to marinate with onion, olive oil, salt and pepper. She raised a concern and said the potatoes could turn brown when exposed to air, but she was curious to see if my ‘invention’ would overcome this obstacle and let me proceed.

Having never prepped potatoes for a hike I had no clue whether the potatoes would last the night. All I had to go on was a sense of adventure and belief in the best. In fact, many of us have such moments, and not necessarily limited to food. Then, I thought deeper and my ideas floated to the past, to our ancestors. Many of these individuals made up their ‘innovations’ and created the ways we cook, preserve and present food today from trial and error.

There are many projects that get scrapped and don’t pass the test, but a lucky few do get passed down to new generations. That day in the kitchen I was exploring new ways to prepare potatoes, and I’m happy to say that the potatoes didn’t brown. They ended up being cooked on an open fire on a chilly weekend in the woods, leaving everyone who indulged in them happy, warm and full. In addition, I was able to teach my grandma, who is overflowing with knowledge on cooking, a new skill.

saynotofoodwaste.camping.food.sustainable.potatoes.eating.hiking.discovery.newgrounds.explore.3This idea of being open to innovation, to making mistakes and embracing uncertainty applies to things beyond the kitchen. In the real life it is easy to stick to regular routines and things we’re familiar with. But, if we don’t explore and be ok with making mistakes then we won’t reach new grounds.

For me, my exploration turned to success, yet even from the success I already deduced things I can improve on. For instance, I realized that chopping the potatoes into thinner slices will help them cook faster and more evenly. I also learned that hotter spices with bolder tastes, such as curry or hot chili, are better ingredients to marinate with. Especially because hiking outdoors leaves you tired and craving comforts of home. Food is always a good reminder of home, so why not make it spicy and hot, especially if it’s cold outside. Also, I will use less potatoes as they are difficult to keep fresh, even in cold weather, and really need to be used quickly, ideally in the first night, or maximum the second, but no longer as they can go bad and start spreading bad odors in the cooler.

If any readers have tips on what to pack and prepare for hikes please let me know. Even though camping doesn’t always entail gourmet food, I believe that there is always room for delicious meals, whether at home or in the mountains. The trick with camping is to pack filling, easy to prepare, and easy to carry food. With a happy and healthy belly there is nothing we can’t accomplish.

Happy eating and exploring!
Hokuma

Bite sized wisdom: taste the unknown

If you want to explore our world you can travel, forge new friendships, experience new events, try extreme sports, or simply take a bite of a new cuisine.

What always fascinated me is that despite a small number of basic ingredients, people in various corners of the world have come up with different methods of mixing them to create such an array of dishes with uncommon flavors, textures, and colors.

Another thrilling aspect is that each group has its own unique traditions of eating their national cuisine. In Asia individuals rely on the engineering of chopsticks to transport food from the table to their mouth. Yet, still, most of world prefers the use of knives, forks and spoons, as they provide a more secure structure to move food from point A to point B.

saynotofoodwaste.food.cuisine.world.global.sustainable.happy.live.love.discover.together.eat4So, when my co-worker invited me to attend a traditional Filipino dinner that would be served on banana leaves and eaten by hand, I jumped at the chance to experience a completely new adventure. The best part was that I didn’t have to travel far to get a taste of a country that is on the other side of the world. Instead, my friends and I drove to a local mall where the restaurant was and got to enjoy a live funk jazz band as we dug into the exotic meal.

The assortment of food was spectacular! Cajun shrimp, fried milk fish, pork bellies, vegetable rolls, eggplant and rice (which served as the glue that kept the yummy ingredients together). For dessert we had purple yam and mango ice cream in a bowl with pumpkin, flan, and other delicious sweets that I couldn’t decipher, all cooled on shaved ice.

Having lived in the Amazon jungle, I was not a stranger to eating on banana leaves, but the food that was served and the ingredients that were presented to me at the restaurant made a huge difference. In the jungle, there is a lack of spices that bring out flavors of the meal and introduce magical notes to your taste buds. In the middle of the green forest, my lunch consisted of cooked yucca and plantain, dipped in salt (a luxury that my team brought from the city), and a piranha fish soup.

Eating the soup with my hands was not easy, especially as I am not good with pulling the bones from a fish bathing in hot water, so I mostly indulged in starch and carbs of the yucca and plantain.

saynotofoodwaste.food.cuisine.world.global.sustainable.happy.live.love.discover.together.eat2So much of what we do, what we eat and how we eat is determined by nature. In the jungles of the Amazon, as communities let go of their nomadic traditions and built communities, a rise in population makes it difficult for everyone to rely on nature. There is not enough time for the hunted animals to repopulate, and that leaves a shortage of food, leading to malnutrition in kids.

Living in DC I never had imagined that I would relive the experience of eating on banana leaves, but I did and the food that I tried was simply delicious. If we want to expand our knowledge of the world, learning about our food and trying different cuisine is a good option, especially if travel is not.

If you guys have any recommendations about other cuisines and restaurants that are worth giving a try on this gastronomic adventure, please let me know. Until then, I’ll keep looking out for these opportunities and share my experiences with you. If anyone reading this lives in Maryland, you should definitely try the traditional Filipino dinner at Lumpia, Pansit, Atbp.

Happy eating, friends!
Hokuma

Bite sized wisdom: go down to go up

To grow we must challenge ourselves.

saynotofoodwaste.grow.tree.up.down.sustainable.learn.wisdom.nature.2Take plants for instance, in order for them to reach more sunlight they must go deeper into the ground (the root goes down and the stem shoots up).

What about animals? The different species we have of same family of mammals is due to environmental challenges that each group adapted to. Even fruits and vegetables have different varieties.

Nature wouldn’t create options if one was enough to address all challenges and fit all needs.

As humans we too must adapt to challenges. This is not done by running away, it’s done by facing the problem, studying it fully and finding small solutions until we overcome our obstacles. Here are three TED talks that provide solutions to common challenges of life.

  1. Face your problem.

Many times we are afraid to make mistakes. This is because we don’t like accepting that we’re not perfect. Sometimes these thought processes lead us astray and not being able to control what comes our way scares us. Yet, if we avoid problems and lead comfortable lives we will never develop. Learning to accept mistakes, face fears and turn problems into lessons will help us grow upwards, just like plants.

2. Study the challenge. 

Once the problem is isolated we try to get rid of it as fast as possible. But like weeds that grow stronger roots, stomping out problems on the surface won’t take them away. Instead, we should look deeper and resolve them from there. For many of us, learning to cook and eat mindfully in our busy lives doesn’t leave us much time to address these issues. One physical symptom of this is weight gain. To address this many turn to extreme diets and then gain the weight right back, but they don’t learn to control their cravings.

3. Set your mind to look for solutions. 

To accomplish anything we must have the right attitude and really want it. Willpower can get us moving, but it is our passion and emotion that keeps us invested even in the face of challenges. These are the things that make life worthwhile, because we know that attaining the goal will be for our own benefit. Being invested in wanting to change means you’re more likely to do it. And even if things don’t go your way, you won’t give up easily because you will know that development requires trial and error. But one thing you can be sure of is: once you do find the path to change it will definitely be a sustainable and a long-lasting one.

In a life that keeps changing we must keep growing. But, before we can run we must walk, and sometimes before we can walk we must begin by crawling, either way – keep going forward. To see more inspiring videos on growth check out this playlist on becoming “A better you“.

After all, even the tall tree under the sky was once a small seed buried in soil.

Happy growing, friends!
– Hokuma

Bite sized wisdom: The Garden Edition

Hello there!

Have you ever tried gardening? I haven’t, but my desire to turn a grey deck into a green paradise meant that I had to learn. With a few trips to a local Home Depot, I had several pots of plants adorning my balcony.

Thanks to a bit of love, lots of sunshine and few occasional rain showers, signs of green started showing. Small seeds burst open, new sprouts grew upwards crowning themselves with flowers, until crowns got heavier and bore fruit. Thanks to the variety of plants, I learned the struggle of each one and realized they all had a different path to follow.

The few weeks spent in the garden have taught me some wisdom and I’d like to share these life lessons with you.

saynotofoodwaste.bitesizedwisdom.blog.sustainable.happy.healthy.green.future.food.nofoodwaste11. “We’re all wired differently.”

In the garden I had a variety of food: tomatoes, strawberries, mint, basil, and even lavender for nice aroma.
The first to blossom were the herbs and lavender, the fruits came last. Of them, the strawberry bloomed from different sides, the flowers transforming into sweet red fruits. The tomato bloomed and bore fruit in a bunch, but it took weeks before they ripened. We all have different paths to follow. For some the journey is long, but we’ll all get there eventually.

saynotofoodwaste.bitesizedwisdom.blog.sustainable.happy.healthy.green.future.food.nofoodwaste32. “Take time, but don’t take too long.”

The first strawberry to appear on the plant was nice and large (not the store kind of large, but more of the organic type you’d expect the strawberry to be). For days it was basking in the sun, getting sweeter and more ripe. One day I had a feeling that it was time to delight in what the plant had to share. To keep the moment special I thought I’d wait to have some friends around. That evening I came home to find that a crow had gotten to the fruit first. It was disappointing, but that’s the truth. Things take time to mature, so give it time, but don’t take too long, or you’ll miss your chance.

3. “What blossoms withers, but the roots can bring it back.”

saynotofoodwaste.bitesizedwisdom.blog.sustainable.happy.healthy.green.future.food.nofoodwaste2I’ve seen many flowers bloom and wither in my neighborhood. On my deck, that’s no exception. Flowers that bring color, sweetness and decorate a grey deck with life are all here for a short time. Once they’ve bloomed and bore fruit they wither away. It’s sad, but it’s the cycle of life. What’s important to remember though is that the roots of the plants are safely in the ground, and when the time comes, the flowers will bloom again. Same applies to love, friendships and everything else in life. Each has its own cycle, there are ups and downs, and even when something seems to be dying, if the bond is strong, it can withstand almost anything! Just because something seems to be ending doesn’t mean it will be gone forever.

Much love and happiness to you!
Hokuma

Midweek Delicacy: Chipotle Bean Tacos vs Fish Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce

Whether you prefer a vegetarian meal or one with a meat protein, both of these recipes will knock your socks off. They are well-balanced incorporating vegetables, textures and you can use up any bitter greens which are starting to go to create a fantastic Chimichurri sauce.

Last week I posted a recipe here @Saynotofoodwaste, which used parsley and arugula for my salad.  Even after sharing the meal Chimichurri Saucewith a friend I had plenty of salad left over. So of course, I couldn’t get to eat all my greens before they started looking a little wilted. Chimichurri is a wonderful sauce that will brighten any dish. The oil and vinegar will keep the herbs preserved well past their sell buy date especially if frozen.

Give these recipes a try, and let me know which you prefer.

Happy eating friends!

Ingrid


IngredientsIngredients

Serves 4 – 6


Chipotle Bean Tacos
2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Chipotles in Adobo
2 tablespoons Cumin powder
1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
2 Radishes, thinly sliced
1 Lime, cut into wedges for garnish
2oz Queso blanco, for garnish (you can also use Cojita cheese, or Feta cheese)
6-8 Corn Tortillas
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
Sliced Avocado for garnish
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Fish Tacos
1lb Firm White Fish, such as tilapia, snapper, cod, mahi mahi, or catfish (be sure to grab the fish listed as sustainably caught)
2 Limes, 1 cut into wedges for garnish & 1 to marinate fish & slaw
1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon Chili powder
1/2 small head Red Cabbage, thinly sliced for slaw
1 Roma Tomato, cubed
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2oz Queso blanco, for garnish (you can also use Cojita cheese, or Feta cheese)
6-8 Corn Tortillas
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Chimichurri Sauce – to use as garnish and marinade
1 cup packed fresh Parsley (double if you are not using cilantro)
1 cup packed fresh Cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves (or 4 teaspoons dried oregano)
1/2 cup packed wilting bitter greens, such as mustard, mizuna, or arugula
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Freshly ground black pepper

Hint:You can use wilting  parsley or cilantro but be sure to get some fresh herbs to add. For this weeks post my parsley was wilting so I used fresh cilantro to complete the sauce. 

Chipotle Bean Taco PreparationChipotle Beans

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, cumin, and 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can. Cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Hint: if you like the heat remove one chipotle pepper and roughly chop then add to the pan to taste.
  2. Add the beans to the pan, 1 cup of water and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally and smashing the beans against the edge of the pan. 
  3. Warm the tortillas by heating a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tortilla at a time, flipping to warm both sides, about 3 minutes total. Wrap the warm tortillas in a clean dishcloth and set aside.
  4. Serve the black bean filling in the tortillas and top with Queso Blanco, radishes,  slivered avocado, and chimichurri sauce. Have lime wedges on the side.

Tip: Freeze the extra chipotles and adobo to add a spicy smoky flavor to any dish.

Chimichurri Sauce Preparation

  1. Place parsley, cilantro, bitter greens, garlic, oregano, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper (to taste) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Process until finely chopped, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed, about 1 minute total.
  2. With the motor running, add oil in a steady stream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse a few times to combine. Transfer sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 day to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. Before serving, stir and season as needed. The chimichurri will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

FishFish Taco Preparation

  1. Place the fish on a large plate and squeeze half a lime over it. Add 1 tablespoon Chimichurri sauce, cumin, and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper and turn the fish in the marinade until evenly coated. Cover, refrigerate and let marinate at least 15 minutes.
  2. Combine the cabbage, tomato and cilantro in a large bowl and squeeze half a lime over it. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary; set aside.
  3. Warm the tortillas by heating a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tortilla at a time, flipping to warm both sides, about 3 minutes total. Wrap the warm tortillas in a clean dishcloth and set aside while you prepare the fish.
  4. Set a large frying pan or grill pan over medium heat pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil add the onion and jalapeño pepper. Cook for 3 minutes.
  5. When the skillet is very hot add the fish. Sear for 4 minutes flip and cook for 4 more minutes or until the fish is done.
  6. Taste the slaw again and season as needed with more lime juice.
  7. Break up the fish and serve the fish in the taco. Top with slaw, cheese, and chimichurri sauce.  Have lime wedges on the side.Bean Tacos vs Fisch Tacos