WWF-Philippines conducts the Savour Planet 2019

With the global problem about food shortage and poverty, it is surprising to know that foods take a huge portion of our waste. This is an alarming problem but we can definitely do something. In partnership with View Park Hotel, Siglo Modern Filipino, Rise Against Hunger Philippines, and Earthventure/Greenspace, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines, a media event was made possible on May 25. Recognizing the importance of putting a spotlight on the food waste crisis we are currently experiencing, WWF-Philippines, through its pioneer project on sustainable consumption and production, The Sustainable Diner: A Key Ingredient for Sustainable Tourism, has conducted the second run of its flagship media workshop series at View Park Hotel Tagaytay. The event was catered by Siglo Modern Filipino – one of the project’s partner restaurants in Tagaytay City who has been very active in educating their diners on the importance of using locally-sourced produce in promoting authentic Filipino cuisine. The Savour Planet workshop series aims to empower and educate Filipino diners, partners from the media, the academe, as well as fellow non-government organizations and food security projects on the importance of sustainable food systems and sustainable dining. The objective of this year’s theme is to equip Filipino diners with knowledge and practical approaches on how they can prevent, manage, and divert the food waste they have at home.
Mylene Reyes, the Quality Assurance Manager of View Park Hotel Tagaytay and Siglo Modern Filipino, shared the different ways by which their hotel and restaurant contribute to the promotion of sustainable dining and lessening of food waste in Tagaytay City. “Here at Siglo, we support local farmers and our advocacy is to promote heirloom ingredients that we don’t usually use nowadays. We want to revive Filipino traditions and the value of Filipino food, and to do that, we actually created our own farm here in the hotel called Siglokalikasan”,’ says Reyes. “We get most of our ingredients from there and then all the excess, we turn into new products we sell at our Siglo Sari-Sari Store. The farm has been especially helpful when it comes to diverting the food waste we produce in the hotel and restaurant, because we are able to turn them into compost which provides nutrition to our soil and our plants.” 
WWF-Philippines has been successfully implementing projects to find new and sustainable ways of using the planet’s natural resources. WWF-Philippines is implementing a pioneer project that focuses on three major cities namely Quezon City, Tagaytay, and Cebu City. The project aims to raise awareness about the environmental impacts of food, increase the number of healthy and eco-friendly dishes in restaurants, and to reduce food waste. It uses a multi-sectoral approach by engaging the government, restaurants, and the dining public. Some of the activities include putting up interactive exhibits to better explain what sustainable dining is, providing talks and seminars that focus on the current issues on food sustainability, conducting media trips to generate awareness-raising content, and creating teaching manuals focused on introducing sustainability and sustainable dining to students.
Jomar Fleras, the Executive Director of Rise Against Hunger Philippines, then talked about the hunger situation in the country, emphasizing the role food banks play in ensuring that no Filipino is left hungry and that no excess food will go to landfills as waste. “Hunger is a serious problem here in the Philippines. Did you know that in 2017, we ranked 29th in the world with a Global Hunger Index of 20.0?” says Fleras. “In fact, only 1 out of 3 Filipino households consider themselves as food secure. And yet, according to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the DOST, each Filipino wastes an average of 3.29 kg of rice per year. How is it that we cannot bring that food to our hungry countrymen before they even end up as waste in landfills? This is why intermediaries, such as The Good Food Grocer, are very important to feed a hungry society.” 
The micro-talks ended with a presentation and workshop on bokashi composting, led by Rina Papio, Founder of Earthventure/Greenspace. She introduced compost as a regenerative substance that serves as probiotic to our land, and that solving the food waste problem also involves regenerating our soil. “Nowadays we always talk about the farm to table concept when it comes to restaurants and dining. That is a good thing because it means we are connecting our gastronomic experiences to the ingredients used in the dishes that we enjoy and that helps us appreciate local sourcing”,’ says Papio. “Why stop there? What about connecting with our food waste? We know and appreciate where food comes from but do we know and care about where they go? Why can’t it be farm to table to compost to farm?”. Through her workshop, Papio was able to demonstrate how easy it is for Filipino diners to conduct bokashi composting in their own homes, whether they lived in houses or condominiums. The Sustainable Diner team actually surprised the participants with a giveaway of five (5) bokashi composting kits, courtesy of Earthventure/Greenspace. The lucky winners will use these kits to jump start their composting journey and will spread the word about their experiences through articles and blog posts. To end the activity, Jem Ong, a private citizen who communicated with The Sustainable Diner team about her own food waste management initiatives, delivered a short but inspiring talk on how regular Filipinos can actually help divert food waste from landfills by doing their own composting at home.

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