Given the current environmental crisis, caring for the environment is crucial to ensure a flourishing future.There are many methods proposed to save the planet, but not all of them can be realistically accomplished.
However, everyone eats everyday, and the processes of food production undoubtedly has an accumulative effect on the environment. Eating sustainably should be the one approach that can be achieved by anyone.
For instance, sustainable foods can ultimately minimize the ecological footprint of its production. It is common knowledge that the meat and processed food industry have a significant negative impact on the environment, a plant-based diet would be the be the most sensible way to reduce one’s ecological footprint. This brings us to this article’s guest: Daniel Suss, co-founder and co-CEO of Kupfert & Kim. In this interview, Daniel Suss will be discussing his vegan restaurant Kupfert & Kim, and he will share his thoughts on various topics, including veganism, organic foods, and sustainable agriculture.
What was the inspiration behind your company’s name? “It was a placeholder that ended up sticking! The last names of two founding partners: Mark Kupfert and my wife, Ji-Hae Kim.” How did everything start? “We’ve always looked for convenient, healthy food and found it hard to find. We figured we weren’t the only ones and decided to give a small take-out restaurant a shot. In the end, we successfully created a business that was awesome for humans, animals, and our planet.”
Why are you doing what you are doing right now? “We are part of a movement to make people healthier and lighten our footprint on the planet, and this is very fulfilling. When customers started to come, we were struck by the appetite for healthy and sustainable eating, and are proud to be in a position to help people move more in that direction.”
What are your thoughts on sustainable agriculture? “The solution is vertical urban farming, which refers to producing food a) with less use of resources such as land, water, and fertilizer, and b) closer to market (i.e. in a city), lessening the costs and environmental impact of transportation. But that is a long-term solution. Meantime, plant-based agriculture is a more viable solution since it is much more sustainable than animal-based agriculture in terms of everything from water use, fertilizer use, land use, etc.”
What are your thoughts on organic produce? Why do you think people tend to stay away from buying them?
“They stay away because of the price, but also because it is not always clear what the benefits of eating organic are. For instance, there is the benefit of consuming fewer chemicals otherwise applied in industrial agriculture, from pesticides to hormones. Exactly how beneficial this is is unclear because it is difficult to conduct such long-term studies on people consistently eating organic, so we are using the precautionary principle. Also, less chemical use means less runoff into the surrounding environment. As for Kupfert & Kim, we strive to serve organic, in particular the produce listed on the Environmental Working Group’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ list, as that represents that which could be most harmful to our bodies.”
What are your thoughts on veganism? “It is shocking how vegan-friendly society has become only in the last five years. It is increasingly familiar, less something to avoid, and recognized for its numerous positive impacts. We view veganism as a positive influence on society, without being ideological about it.”
Some people tend to be really against going vegan, what would you like to say to change their mind? “We are not trying to get anyone to ‘go vegan.’ We are trying to make vegan food accessible and showcase the benefits of eating more vegan food. This approach is much more inviting and less of a turn-off. Also, certain myths about vegan food not being tasty, that it lacks protein, and that it isn’t filling are undoubtedly false. Every one of our meals debunks those myths.”
Do you have any tips you would like to share with people who want to start eating less meat? “The first tip is to be open-minded about the possibility that you can be satiated and enjoy meatless foods. Then, it is also essential to eat a variety of foods, including nuts, seeds and legumes, because eating vegetables and grains alone is unhealthy and won't give you all the nutrients you need. Moreover, you need to keep a focus on whole, minimally processed foods. Eating mostly processed vegetarian or vegan foods is not healthy because there are substantially more nutrients in whole foods than heavily processed ones. Therefore, just eating vegan does not ensure good health.”
Thank you, Daniel, for sharing your knowledge with Pitch It Green as well as our blog’s audience. Considering how much trouble we are in right now, in terms of the planet’s condition, everyone is needed to make the environmental situation better. No matter how big or small the actions are, anything counts because we are stronger when we work together. If you want to learn more about Kupfert & Kim or you want to feast on one of their vegan treats, please go check out their social media platforms and their restaurants located either in Toronto or Montreal! If you had fun reading this article and are hungry for more, I would suggest you stay tuned as we have a lot more planned for 2020. Now, the next time that you intend to grab food, please remember to enjoy your meal with a side of sustainability.