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Zero Waste Chef Talks Food, Going Plastic-Free And More!

Zero Waste Chef Talks Food, Going Plastic-Free And More!

Having followed Anne-Marie Bonneau’s work on Instagram for a while (@zerowastechef), we were quite intrigued by her application of zero waste ideology into her kitchen. So we asked her a couple of questions and she was more than willing to grant us all some much-needed knowledge.

Anne Marie AKA Zero Waste Chef In Action

Anne Marie AKA Zero Waste Chef In Action!

KS: Starting with your Instagram bio, you follow three rules in your kitchen- No packaging, nothing processed and no trash. What exactly triggered this movement in for you?

AM: Even before I applied this rule in my kitchen, I wasn’t a big consumer. I don’t need a lot of stuff to get started. We realized that most of our trash came from the kitchen and decided to start from there.

KS: Cooking a regular meal requires a lot of planning. How do you, as a zero waste chef, manage to plan your everyday meals?

AM: I think the key is not to cook something new every single day. First of all, I look at what I have on hand before I go shopping for new ingredients. Usually, I come up with unexpected meals or inventions with what’s leftover! I shop only once a week, plan out a couple of meals and consume one particular meal for three days or so.

KS: Going plastic free is a great thing and no one is going to argue with that.  We want to know the real side of it. What were the most common struggles you faced in your quest to go plastic free?

AM: In 2011, we read up about plastic and plastic pollution and decided to take that step to go plastic-free. It took us months to get started! When we would go shopping we’d face so many issues and our choices became less because most of the stuff came in plastic containers. It was definitely a challenge and did not happen overnight. I would advise you, to start small- for example, bringing cloth bags whenever you got out shopping. Don’t try to be perfect, because no one is. Small, significant steps are the way to go!

KS: You ferment a lot of your food. Can you please talk more about it and the benefits of it?

AM: Oh, fermented food tastes amazing! Fermentation really brings out strong flavors. All the good things in life are fermented- cheese, beer, wine etc. Our mood, our weight and health are all gut dependent. When you eat fermented food, it improves the gut bacteria and is in general, more nutritious.

Fermented Foods Made by The Zero Waste Chef

Fermented Foods Made by The Zero Waste Chef

 

KS: Could you share some of your easiest zero-waste food to make for an easy midnight snack?

AM: Popcorn! We buy popcorn in bulk and cook it in a pot on the stove and add in some coconut oil and salt. Even hummus, which is easy to make, can be eaten with bread.

 

KS: At Karmic Seed we are really passionate about waste products all our products are considered agro waste products that would typically be burned. We love that you are also promoting a zero waste kitchen lifestyle that eliminates waste in the kitchen. Any suggestions on how businesses can function when it comes to sustainability and fair environmental practice?

AM: I think companies should create their products in such a way that they shouldn’t put the onus on the consumer to clean up afterwards. They should use better alternatives than synthetics. For example, hemp. It is easy and quick to grow and is way cheaper. It was banned before, due to corporate interests but has not been legalized again.

KS: We would like to know some quick tips to make use of the agro-waste from our kitchen!

AM: You could use leftover vegetables to make vegetable broth. Apple peels can be used to make vinegar instead of buying store-bought vinegar bottles. Also, cream with cultured milk can be used to make sour cream.

KS: Finally, how has going zero waste affected your life?

AM: I am much healthier now as I eat real, wholesome food that I’ve cooked myself. I feel much happier as I don’t see a downside to being this way. Its fun, its important and I enjoy it! The food tastes better and now that I don’t go very often to shop for stuff, I have time to do other things I enjoy as well!

KS: Thank you so much, Anne-Marie, for sharing your wisdom and giving us your time!

AM: I’m glad and happy to!

Check out our other interviews, here.

 

Zero Waste, Agro Waste And More: A Chat With Manju Kumar

Zero Waste, Agro Waste And More: A Chat With Manju Kumar

Zero waste, agro waste- we’ve been hearing it all. We have been talking about it in our previous blog posts as well. But what does it mean to actually incorporate these concepts in our daily life? In a rapidly expanding concrete world, Manju Kumar aka ‘zero waste farmer’ (as she is known on Instagram) comes as a breath of fresh air. We, at Karmic Seed, have been following her work for quite some time and were thrilled at the opportunity to interview her. From her zero waste lifestyle, gardening skills to her family-owned company “Brush with Bamboo” and agro-waste utilization tips: we asked it all and she was more than happy to oblige.

 

KS: Every person always cites someone else as their inspiration to do the things that they do. Who has been your inspiration when it comes to your green thumb?

MK: When it comes to my green thumb, I have to say, my family. Everyone in my family has been landlords and farmers, as a result of which I’ve had access to good, homely food in my childhood.

Photo Courtesy Manju Kumar (Zero Waste Farmer)

Photo Courtesy Manju Kumar (Zero Waste Farmer)

 

KS: In a world where people prefer buying their fruits and vegetables from the supermarket or ordering it online, what exactly motivates you to grow your own produce?

MK: I guess; I don’t like to follow everybody else. I’m sort of a rebel that way and I don’t get swayed by the glitter of things. I have always firmly felt that whatever the earth produces is the most natural and best for you.

 

KS: How have you incorporated the concept of zero waste, into farming?

MK: Basically I don’t believe in the use of plastic. We always ask our customers to get their own containers. I also collect reusable containers. The amount of packaging that goes into food items for sale, is the biggest waste. We solve that issue by growing our own food. Another wastage that tends to happen, is a waste of water due to inefficient irrigation. We don’t do that wastage.

We also believe in the concept of permaculture which is essentially like living in a forest. The forest does not get fertilizers or any artificial resources and yet, the soil is healthy and the forest is lush.

 

KS: Agro waste is gaining popularity but at the same time, very few people actually make it a part of their day-to-day life. Any tips on how to do so?

MK: Now I’m quite lazy and look for the easiest way to compost. I segregate my waste and since I have a lot of land outside my house, I dig huge holes of about two feet by four feet and fill it with green waste and cover that up with soil. The waste decays and provides essential nutrients to the soil and plants.

 

KS: Usually in an urban setting like an apartment, you don’t really have land around you to do that. Do you think the same method could work for potted plants too?

MK: Yeah sure! You could try filling the bottom of the pot with green waste and cover it up with soil. You could definitely try that too.

 

KS: We often don’t think much of something as small and yet significant as a toothbrush, yet here you are. Tell us a little bit about the story behind Brush with Bamboo

MK: It actually came upon my son’s mind. We were watching documentaries on plastic usage and we realized that we own so much plastic around us! Even when you dig into your handbags, you find so many items of plastic. One day, he was brushing his teeth and he realized that even the first thing one puts in their mouth, is made of plastic.

He started searching for alternatives but there were no options at the time. He found out that in ancient times bamboo tree brushes existed. Since there were none in the market, we decided to create our own. That is the story behind Brush with Bamboo

Photo Courtesy Manju Kumar ( Zero Waste Farmer)

Photo Courtesy Manju Kumar ( Zero Waste Farmer)

 

KS: That is truly inspirational and quite amazing! Now for our last question, we would like to know what are some of your favorite ways to avoid making trash or attain a zero waste living?

MK: I think the biggest way you can avoid making trash is by growing your food. Instead of growing grass or bushes, I use that same water to grow plants that can actually give me food. This way you can save up on the amount of plastic that goes into packaged food. Another way is to avoid harsh chemicals or anything that is not offered by mother nature. For example, instead of fertilizers, you could use coffee ground, which is normally considered waste, to fertilize your soil. As much as possible, stop your waste from going into the landfill.

KS: Thank you so much Manju for giving us your precious time and knowledge

MK: The pleasure is all mine!

To know more about Manju and her zero waste journey follow her on Instagram @zerowastefarmer

To know more about her company Brush With Bamboo, check out their website and take that extra step towards a plastic-free future.

 

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