Posts Tagged ‘earth day’

Party for the Planet

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Chef Ramsey

Part of the mission of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., is to provide exciting and enriching experiences for its 2 million annual visitors.

Sodexo is proud to be part of the team who provides those experiences to DC visitors.

Over the weekend, during the Zoo’s Party for the Planet, I had a hands-on opportunity to be part of that mission when we did healthy cooking demonstrations for kids outside the Mane Grill.

While I was relegated to sous-chef for a 13-year-old for the day as Sodexo’s Student Ambassador for Health and Nutrition Remmi Smith took the lead, it was a great experience being able to tie the importance healthy eating, sustainable ingredients, and making cooking fun on Earth Day.

Chef Ramsey and Chef Remmi prepare for a healthy cooking demonstration.

As Chef Remmi spouted off facts about fruits and vegetables while we made her strawberry salsa and sweet summer corn succotash, I was thinking how little the kids in the audience may know about the food they eat. (Note: Scroll down to see the strawberry salsa recipe!)

That’s why events like those around the Zoo this weekend are so important, bringing a little more understanding of the importance of correlation of being environmentally-friendly and committed to sustainability and being healthy and well.

I know what I do in my role at the Zoo has an impact through Sodexo and our Better Tomorrow Plan commitments, but I am equally as excited about the impact we are having in the DC community through events like this.

I hope you’ll visit the Zoo soon…take some time to enjoy this great landmark, but stop by and see us too, so you can try some of our new menu items like jerk chicken tenders made with all natural chicken, turkey po’boy, and hand-smoked and pulled chicken tacos.

Nothing’s better than springtime at the Zoo.

Tom Ramsey is the Sodexo’s executive chef at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC.

This Earth Day, Do It “For Cod and Country”

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Barton Seaver

I am thrilled and honored that Sodexo chose recipes from my first cookbook, For Cod and Country, to help them celebrate sustainable seafood and Earth Day. When we talk about sustainable seafood, we are not just talking about sustaining the seas, but also about sustaining the communities that provide food for our tables. I have had the good fortune to work with many chefs across the Sodexo universe who understand this nuance and it’s an honor to be able to collaborate with such creative and talented teams.

Sustainable seafood is a multifaceted issue, but at its core it represents a conversation about how we interact with our oceans and ecosystems. Our fisheries are one of the primary causes of much of the damage imposed on our oceans by humans. With the plethora of seafood information available in the media and from non-profit organizations, it can be difficult to keep the data straight.  All of the confusion around seafood choices is enough to make some choose to opt not to serve it at all rather than make a wrong decision.

For Cod and Country

Instead of fearing an unwise selection, we should focus on the opportunity we have to use our dollars as our voices and support fisheries that are creating positive change. We should remember, at the end of the day that the products we choose to use have more impact in restoring an appropriate relationship with our oceans than do the products we avoid. There are many resources available to consumers and food service providers to help guide these choices. The National Geographic Seafood Decision Guide and the Marine Stewardship Council guidelines are great examples.

As we think about Earth Day, please remember that over 70% of the planet’s surface is oceans. Any impact we have on our waters has very real implications on our own well-being and that of our communities. For Cod and Country is written as a celebration of the delicious opportunity we have to participate in restoring not only the health of the oceans but also the health of our bodies. You will find many of the dishes within rely very heavily on vegetables for flavor, texture, and bulk. This is no accident– we will never accomplish our goals for the resiliency of oceans nor will we accomplish the goal of healthy communities unless fruit, vegetables and grains make up the majority of our diets.

I know customers will enjoy the seafood that I am proud to serve with Sodexo during this Earth Week. I am thrilled for you to join us in this celebration and in eating with care so that we may continue to eat deliciously from the seas.

A recognized leader in sustainability by the New England Aquarium, Barton Seaver is a chef, author and Fellow with the National Geographic Society.

It’s Earth Day, now what…?

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

This year’s Earth Day will be celebrated by 192 countries around the globe. With over 1 billion people participating annually, it is the largest civic observance in the world. To place this in perspective, 9 times more people will be participating on April 22 than those who watched this year’s Super Bowl.

At last glance over 814 million (and counting) have pledged an “act of green” this year to help save our planet. The pledges range from eating more local foods and using rechargeable batteries, to planting a tree or taking less time to shower. With so many people pledging to help the environment, these small practices add up to a large impact.

While not everyone may have the opportunity to plant a tree on Earth Day, there are other actions you can take that will have an impact just the same. One suggestion: when leaving your office for the day, turn off the computer! This not only reduces the utility bill but also avoids pollution emissions from the power plant that creates the electricity. Over the course of a year, the practice of turning off a computer at night will result in the environmental impact equivalent of planting 9 trees per year! Now who says you cannot have a green thumb?

Another suggestion would be to car pool with a colleague twice per week. On average this will avoid around 1600 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually (roughly 6 barrels of oil)—not  to mention the money saved from not having to fill up the gas tank. Pocket some of that money and with the remainder buy you and the driver a cup of coffee during the morning commute.

So as we observe Earth day later this month, remember we all can make a difference. At Sodexo, we work to make a difference every day with our Better Tomorrow Plan. That said, it’s really one small change each day, every day that makes the biggest difference in the end. Now before you leave the office today, turn off your computer and remember to tell your colleagues how many trees you just planted!  

Brandon is a regional director, energy and construction for Sodexo’s North American Solution Center.

Enjoying the Cherry Blossoms through an Artist’s Eyes

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Winner Samia Hall with her interpretation of what the Cherry Blossoms mean to her. For additional pictures and artwork, please click the picture.

When I think of spring in Washington DC I think National Cherry Blossom Festival. Sure, there is also the beginning of a new baseball season and countless other popular events available to the public, but nothing else impacts the city, visually, financially or emotionally, quite like the cherry blossoms.

I once again had the pleasure of discovering how the cities’ youth envision this iconic symbol of springtime in the nation’s capital. As the sponsor of two youth programs at the National Cherry Blossom Festival – the Youth Poster Art Contest and the Youth Ambassadors Program, Sodexo had the opportunity to participate in the festival’s opening day presentations. It was there that I had the honor of welcoming the winners of the Youth Poster Art Contest on stage and introducing them to those in attendance. Their artistic works were exhibited at the National Building Museum and viewed by thousands of visitors attending the ceremonies.

The creativity and talent demonstrated in the artwork of these K-12 students from Washington DC’s public and charter schools was tremendous. Tasked only with submitting entries that drew inspiration from the cherry blossoms and the message of friendship and good will that they represent, students from 24 area schools submitted posters in the form of digital artwork, paintings, drawing and works involving mixed media.

It was exciting to see how the students managed to capture the beauty and the sentiment of the blossoms in their work. In speaking with many of them it was clear that they likewise understood the special message that the blossoms signify this year, in the wake of Japan’s still unfolding tragedy.

The depictions of enduring friendship, unity and hope for a bright future were themes that could be seen in numerous poster entries, including that of overall winner, seventh grader Samia Hall of Kelly Miller Middle School.

Their vision of the cherry blossom is larger than the pink and white petals that draw more than a million tourists from around the world. It’s always refreshing to see this harbinger of spring from a fresh new perspective.

Scott Loretan is senior vice president, of the Sodexo Schools Segment