Ellen Brookes, Co-founder of Just Food and current student of the MSc Environmental Technology talks about what inspired her to set up Just Food:
I was captivated by London when I first arrived in the capital four years ago as a fresh faced Zoology graduate. What was so tantalising about it? Bright lights, big city, of course! Mostly, the chance to eat in a new place every night, try dishes from around the world with friends and then take the tube home.
The limits of the salary from my first job (the reality was much more Hannah from Girls than Carrie in Sex and the City) soon burst my dream of culinary exploration every night of the week, but my love of food remained. Fast forward four years, I’m still enjoying food but I’ve also become committed to minimising my personal environmental impact: if a career in sales and marketing has taught me anything, it is that consumers have immense power.
As a Zoology graduate specialising in conservation, I know our globalised food system is one of the biggest causes of environmental change. Globally agriculture is responsible for 30 – 35% of greenhouse gas emissions, is a leading driver of biodiversity loss due to deforestation in the tropics and uses up to 70% of freshwater withdrawals for irrigation. I’m not saying food production inherently bad, of course we need food to live and enjoy, but it happens on such a large scale that we need to understand the best way to use resources and manage outputs. Some farmers and restaurants are pioneering a more sustainable approach to food sourcing across the UK. The problem is finding them.
What can I, an individual consumer, do to help? It’s tough! There are enough mixed messages and bad science around food already; we can’t turn on the TV or open Instagram without being told if we just eat X and didn’t eat Y our lives would be better/more prosperous/more beautiful.
But this is how Just Food is different. We don’t advocate strict rules about a certain way to live or a diet plan. What you put on your plate is personal. What we can do, being full time sustainability masters students, is present the latest research to you in a way that’s easy to access and verify. Hence our five principles of edible ethics were born which we use to assess the restaurants that we feature;
- More Plants
- Local and Seasonal Produce
- Sustainable Sourcing
- Zero Waste
- Carbon Neutral Operations
We hope that you will find these an interesting and thought-provoking addition to the way you eat in and out.
Back to eating out in London, my original passion. Through our website and Instagram. JustFood gives kudos to restaurants and cafés that are putting in the extra effort to incorporate sustainability in their supply chain and operations. Our mission is to make it easier for consumers to vote with their feet and their pounds. You can help us by recommending places to feature and following us on Instagram. History tells us that the power of the consumer can move mountains; look at the recent boycott of Ivanka Trump’s shoes in Nordstrom or the protests in the Nineties over allegations about Nike using child labour. We are excited to present a proactive, guiltfree tool to help you make more informed decisions about where to eat.
If you would like to join the first in our Sustainable Supper Club series on May 16th at Daylesford Organic please buy a ticket here