Cooking for Solutions Sustainable Foods Institute


One of the more compelling jellyfish displays at Monterey Aquarium


I recently had the pleasure of representing Martha Stewart Living magazine as a guest at the Cooking for Solutions Sustainable Foods Institute at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. It was an enlightening couple of days of panels and lectures which mainly focused on how the food choices we make affect the health of our soil, water, and oceans, and ultimately the human race.

Consumer pressure, corporate social responsibility, and a growing understanding that our oceans are in trouble are all key factors in recent movements toward sustainable seafood sourcing. In fact, this year Whole Foods has announced that it will fulfill its commitment to take red-rated wild caught species off of its shelves — a year ahead of its original proposed schedule. That was on the upside of things discussed; on the other hand, for example, we were confronted with the dilemma of how, as a people, we will be able to feed the world sustainably as the population rises toward 9 billion. There was much food for thought.

There was also much food to be enjoyed, including a gorgeous breakfast at the nearby Earthbound Organics farm in Carmel.

Breakfast treats at Earthbound Farm, such as scones and cakes made with all organic ingredients.

Icy cold "Fancy Herb Water" -- one of the most refreshing, beautiful, and pure things I have tasted recently, made by infusing water with some of Earthbound's bounty -- verbena, rose, chamomile, and mint.

Artichokes growing at Earthbound

The conference took place largely at the aquarium itself so in between seminars and events I was free to walk around in awe of the sea creatures on display … it was the perfect backdrop for the event’s subject matter.

Among many things, I came away from the Institute enriched and with a greater appreciation for our earth in general.  Some of the most compelling material presented to us that weekend was just how damaging irresponsible and unsustainable farm-raised fisheries are for the ocean and our environment.  Thus, I am now on a mission to keep current with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide and make responsible and informed seafood choices.  With a newfound strong passion and drive to do my part in helping the environment, I look forward to sharing more of what I learned through future stories in Living…so stay tuned!

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