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What’s on the menu at United Nations climate conference?

The 26th annual meet has a sustainable take on food with a ‘plant-forward’ approach 

Seasonal and locally-sourced foods are earth-friendly. (Ella Olsson, Pexels)

The United Nations Climate Change Conference UK 2021 will be held in Glasgow from Nov 1-12. The 26th Conference of Parties (COP 26) has a sustainable take on food with a seasonal ‘plant-forward’ menu.

A statement on their website ukcop26.org reads that the catering to delegates “prioritises locally sourced and in season food items to minimise mileage for transportation and supporting local business.” A Bloomberg story, published yesterday, has specified that the menu features plant-based dishes such as potato, leek and rosemary chowder and organic spelt whole-grain penne with an oatmeal crumble. The story titled UN’s Climate Gathering in Glasgow Features ‘Plant-Forward’ Menu says, “Menu items will be listed with their carbon footprint, allowing attendees to enjoy a Scottish beef burger -- though with knowledge that, even with a mix of root vegetables and oats, it’s responsible for more than 16 times the carbon dioxide emissions as a mushroom burger that’s also on offer.”

Also read | What is the recipe for plant-based 'meats'?

The United Nations’ climate change arm talks about reducing the environmental cost of daily meals. On their Instagram page @unclimatechange, it has listed five ways to do so. The first is considering the entire food system while buying groceries which includes transport, storage and marketing cost. This means imported plant-based burger patties that line the shelves of premium grocery retail stores have a higher carbon footprint due to transport and cold storage compared to the seasonal vegetables sold by your neighbourhood sabziwalla. Other suggestions include avoiding unnecessary packaging, supporting sustainable agriculture and reducing waste. The UN has pointed out that one-third of the food produced is either lost or wasted. So, it’s wise to know how much to buy and find ways to creatively use leftovers.

The upcoming climate conference is paying close attention to minimising food waste. The Bloomberg story has pointed out that drinks will be served in reusable cups and dishes will be cooked with repeat ingredients to ensure leftovers or unused produce can be repurposed with creative cooking.

Also read | How to cook with peels and reduce kitchen waste

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