FOOD REPORT AARON QUESNEL, FOUNDER, SKY HARVEST.
By Kent Macwilliam and Aaron Quesnel, Founder of Sky Harvest.
Chefs Love Micrcogreens for More than Just Flavor Restaurant customers demand sustainably grown, local-organic produce. But for restaurants, pairing nutrition and sustainability is a challenge. Consumers are growing aware of agricultureâ€™s contribution to water contamination, ecological degradation, and unsustainable resource depletion. Their preference is gradually shifting towards local and organic food. As fresh, sustainably grown produce is in limited supply, a lag exists between the availability of local-organic produce and demand from sustainably-minded customers. Local farms, already at threat from sprawling cities, are forced to compete with international suppliers for shelf space at grocery stores. To grow cheap produce means sticking to the status quo by using harsh fertilizers and pesticides on crops. These pressures, especially apparent in the cold, wet Pacific Northwest, make it 4 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
tough for chefs in Vancouver, British Columbia, to source truly sustainable, local-organic ingredients. WHAT CHEFS WANT AND WHATâ€™S AVAILABLE Above all, quality and freshness of produce are top priorities for chefs. Sustainably grown local-organic food has the advantage of providing both. On the other hand, exotic produce supplied from far away places is often neither. Whether the produce is organic or not requires a lot of time and fuel to transport. The delay from harvest to consumption costs chefs in nutrients & quality. Energy intensive systems compensate to keep produce fresh during transportation to restaurants. Keeping produce fresh during transport requires refrigeration. Air conditioning units on trucks and cold storage warehouse facilities