Whether you are a gourmet guru, aspiring foodie or activist of all food green and glorious – the call is out to start rethinking your idea of the perfect plate. It is easy to think of recycling, waste and electricity when describing your understanding of “sustainability”, but how often do we consider the consequences of the supply chain that brought you that scrumptious mouthful?
Currently, restaurants are under no obligation to source their food ethically. Unless otherwise specified, chicken comes from broiler chickens and eggs come from battery hens – both are cruel and unsustainable factory farming methods. When it comes to seafood, local fisheries appear to be relatively healthy, but many restaurants source their fish from unsustainable stocks in foreign waters. Without a second thought they are thereby contributing to massive declines in fish populations worldwide, as well as throwing ocean ecosystems out of balance.
However, an exciting new project is giving you the opportunity to take ownership of promoting an ethical culinary culture in South Africa. Through rating your favourite restaurant this project will enable you to mount a coordinated effort to pressurise restaurants to change over to more ethical suppliers. Through the power of collaboration you can put a stop to battery eggs, foie gras and SASSI red-listed fish in all our favourite restaurants.
The initiative is called Fresh or Vrot ?
and it aims to use the brand of “restaurant activism” to enable the public to use the influence that we have. As an anonymous customer you can reward or name & shame the restaurants you visit, as appropriate. Combine your Freshes and Vrots
with those of other like-minded consumers around the country and restaurant owners will be forced to sit up and take notice.
There are five easy steps to taking the power into your hands:
1.Go to www.freshorvrot.co.za
2.Sign up or sign in with your Facebook account
3.Type in the name of your favourite restaurant (if it’s not in the system just type in the name and the suburb – and they will enter the rest of the details within 24 hours)
4.Click to award the restaurant with “Fresh” or click to give them a “Vrot”!
5.Press the button to send the “Fresh” or the “Vrot” to the restaurant. Share on Facebook or Twitter as preferred.
So whenever you eat out (at a restaurant, fast food outlet, cafe, etc.), ask your waiter or manager whether their chicken and/or eggs are free range, and/or whether their fish is caught sustainably and in local waters. Back home, submit the feedback you obtained on the Fresh or Vrot
website. This will allow fellow activists to target those restaurants that are obtaining their food from unethical sources.
We cannot expect results from a single enquiry, but with about ten thousand participants countrywide, this project should be able to cover restaurants nationwide, with measurable effect.
Anonymity is a core part of the approach, as restaurateurs are less likely to brush off enquiries as “bunny-hugger” complaints. Enquiries from hundreds of anonymous customers will also help to ensure a general groundswell of demand for ethical food.
You can have a look at what some “restaurant activists” have already been saying: http://www.freshorvrot.co.za/feed
and then go and add your voice! Being the change is that easy.