Lunch at Green Enterprise Toronto
We were guests for part of the Green Enterprise Toronto seminar, but more about that later, first we did lunch and it is true that the way to a TreeHugger's heart is through his stomach, particularly if it is a meal like this. Catered by Vert, it was a remarkable demonstration that green businesses can compete and even thrive if they exceed expectations and deliver a value proposition that anyone can grasp instantly and understand its worth. (hey, this was a business seminar, we have to lay on the clichÃ©s.) What follows is our first locally sourced, organic and sustainable catered meal.
First of all, and for a caterer most importantly, the food was excellent. Vegetable sushi, samosas and a wonderful roasted tofu sandwich, all served on biodegradable starch-based plates and cutlery. To wrap the sandwiches, Vert cooked up a biodegradable sugar based clear wrapping; we sucked on it and it sure didn't taste like sugar but we will take them at their word and will follow up on this, it could be big. Toronto has a "green bin" composting system, and it was wonderful to see all of the forks, plates, and wrappings go into the green bins.
Dessert was fair trade chocolate from ChocoLand, a new company that produces "chocolates that are good for you, and for the planet!" Courtesy of Dufflet we have tasted some of the finest chocolate in the world and this compared favourably. Owner Radmilla Rakas is charming and committed; we wish her well. She advises that by September she will be equipped for online ordering.
Finally we had a coffee from darkcitycoffee.com which roasts fair trade, shade grown, organic beans in the east end of Toronto on Mondays and Tuesdays and delivers them to your door (Toronto area only) within 24 hours via Purolator, a courier "chosen for their hybrid trucks and commitment to sustainability."
Milk came from the happy cows at Harmony Organic, where "The sky is blue, the sun is shining and on the lush pastures cows are contentedly grazing."
The biodegradable coffee cups were produced by Green Shift, a sort of cross between a consulting firm and product incubator, deserving of its own post which will follow.
There are some who will say that it would have been better to use real china and cutlery instead of the disposables, and in most studies comparing energy costs re-use of china comes in as better for the environment than disposables. However in this case, with a caterer, the cost of transport becomes a factor and the ability to leave the party with nothing but a few green bins of compostable materials probably tilts the balance in favour of the disposables.
The only off key note in the exercise- the waste from hundreds of Naya water bottles- whatever happened to the silver jugs of icewater and tumblers? A green caterer should figure this one out.
So, to every corporation that orders in that business lunch, to every family planning that wedding or bar mitzvah, you don't have to hang out in farmers markets or deal with crazed hippies serving brown rice. You can get really good food, well presented, by just picking up the phone. We are impressed.