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Rhinebeck Chef Goes 'Wild,' Encourages Urban Food Foraging

Gerard Viverito, aka "The Sustainable Chef."
Gerard Viverito, aka "The Sustainable Chef." Photo Credit: Submitted

RHINEBECK, N.Y. -- Gerard Viverito, aka "The Sustainable Chef," wants to redefine the concept of eco-friendly urban foraging.

"Sure, sustainable eating includes limiting food waste, but not everyone wants to dumpster dive for their dinner,” he explained. “Nor is foraging reserved for outdoorsy people or those who live in the country.”

Instead, his goal is to teach people how to forage for responsibly produced food in and around their urban communities.

Viverito has a long-standing commitment to the environment. He travels around the world educating, consulting and demonstrating cooking using sustainable products. He is also the Director of Culinary Education for PassionFish, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching and promoting environmentally sound alternatives to endangered seafood species.

What follows his five-step guide to entry-level sustainable urban foraging:

  • Go wild in your neighborhood. Research edible plants that grow wild in your area. Some may be free for the taking. Just make sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.
  • Buy local. Much of the food we consume is imported from other countries or shipped from long distances. The fuel used and emissions released throughout the shipping process are bad for the environment.
  • “Forage” online for sustainable pantry staples. If sustainable options aren’t readily available, it may seem more practical to just buy whatever is on the shelf. Instead, stock up by shopping online. Some of his favorite pantry staples, such as Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil, are readily available on Amazon.
  • Learn to quiz supermarket managers. Ask the grocer to point out the locally grown fruits and vegetables, those grown organically, and those that are in season where you live.
  • Preserve what you’ve gathered. Go to your local farmer’s market and buy vegetables at the peak of the season; then can or freeze what you can.

To access some of Chef Viverito’s favorite recipes, and to get more of his healthy eating tips, visit www.palmoilhealth.org .

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